Emergent Disparities in Early Childhood: Assessing the Gender Gap in Mental and Motor Scores at 9 and 24 Months

Benjamin Gibbs, Ohio State University
Anne McDaniel, Ohio State University

Examining and interpreting gender gaps in cognitive scores has been an ongoing debate. Most studies suggest that females have an advantage over males in reading ability, grades, long-term memory, memory recall, fine motor skills, perceptual speed and vocabulary skills. Conversely, males typical perform better on standardized math tests, have higher gross motor skills and mechanical reasoning. Despite the well documented differences in performance, what are the origins of these inequalities in cognitive abilities? Utilizing ECLS-B data, we assess the cognitive skills at 9 months and 2 years. Remarkably, 9 month old girls perform higher on tests of cognition, which only grows at 2 years compared to boys. Furthermore, there is evidence that score variances become greater for boys than girls at 2 years suggesting that variations documented in adolescent years originate early in child development. We also examine the interaction of SES and gender on cognition and find significant differences.

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Presented in Poster Session 2