Monthly Archive for April, 2008

Page 4 of 6

The Science of Sex Differences in Science and Mathematics

Source: Psychological Science in the Public Interest
By: Diane F. Halpern, Camilla P. Benbow, David C. Geary, Ruben C. Gur, Janet Shibley Hyde, and Morton Ann Gernsbacher

Amid ongoing public speculation about the reasons for sex differences in careers in science and mathematics, we present a consensus statement that is based on the best available scientific evidence. Sex differences in science and math achievement and ability are smaller for the mid-range of the abilities distribution than they are for those with the highest levels of achievement and ability. Males are more variable on most measures of quantitative and visuospatial ability, which necessarily results in more males at both high- and low-ability extremes; the reasons why males are often more variable remain elusive. Successful careers in math and science require many types of cognitive abilities. Females tend to excel in verbal abilities, with large differences between females and males found when assessments include writing samples. High-level achievement in science and math requires the ability to communicate effectively and comprehend abstract ideas, so the female advantage in writing should be helpful in all academic domains. Males outperform females on most measures of visuospatial abilities, which have been implicated as contributing to sex differences on standardized exams in mathematics and science. An evolutionary account of sex differences in mathematics and science supports the conclusion that, although sex differences in math and science performance have not directly evolved, they could be indirectly related to differences in interests and speci ic brain and cognitive systems. We review the brain basis for sex differences in science and mathematics, describe consistent effects, and identify numerous possible correlates. Experience alters brain structures and functioning, so causal statements about brain differences and success in math and science are circular. A wide range of sociocultural forces contribute to sex differences in mathematics and science achievement and ability—including the effects of family, neighborhood, peer, and school in luences; training and experience; and cultural practices. We conclude that early experience, biological factors, educational policy, and cultural context affect the number of women and men who pursue advanced study in science and math and that these effects add and interact in complex ways. There are no single or simple answers to the complex questions about sex differences in science and mathematics.

Full text (PDF)

Essays on Environmental Determinants of Health Behaviors and Outcomes

RAND Dissertation
By: Khoa Dang Truong

This dissertation consists of four stand-alone essays that focus on alcohol and food environments. They examine the following: (1) Disparities in alcohol environments and their relationship to adolescent drinking. Nineteen percent of all expenditure on alcohol in 1999 was attributed to underage drinking. Alcohol outlets located in close proximity to homes are significantly associated with adolescents’ binge drinking and driving after drinking. (2) The spatial location of alcohol outlets and problem drinking among the adult population. There is consistent evidence of a concentration of alcohol retailers in minority and low-income neighborhoods in California. Some types of alcohol outlets are found to be associated with excess alcohol consumption and heavy episodic drinking among the adult population with indirect effects such as drunk driving and violent crime. (3) Weight gain trends across sociodemographic groups in the United States. Although sociodemographic disparities in obesity are well-documented, weight gain trend is quite similar across sociodemographic groups — probably due in part to broadly environmental factors such as transportation and community design. (4) Retail food environments. Retail food outlets are associated with individual obesity status. Improving the supply of and access to healthy food choices can play a role in the prevention of obesity.

Document Information; Full text (PDF)

The Opium Brides of Afghanistan

The Opium Brides of Afghanistan
By Sami Yousafzai and Ron Moreau | NEWSWEEK
April 7, 2008

The Curious Lives of Surrogates

The Curious Lives of Surrogates
Lorraine Ali and Raina Kelley | NEWSWEEK
April 7, 2008

Single Mothers in China

Single Mothers in China Forge a Difficult Path
Howard French | NY TIMES
April 6, 2008

Dartmouth Atlas of Health Care

Use the links in the Atlas Data Tools menu at left to find state, region, and hospital-specific data. Download prepared tables from our Download page, or make your own tables and graphs using the Data Tools. Descriptions of the tools and step-by-step Help files can be found on the Data Tools page.

Variation in Health Care Costs

Researchers Find Huge Variations in End-of-Life Treatment
Robert Pear | NY TIMES
April 7, 2008
Based on a report from the Dartmouth Atlas of Health Care
Tracking the Care of Patients with Severe Chronic Illness

Census 2010 back to pen and paper

Census Back to Pen and Paper: Bureau Admits it wasn’t clear on computer needs
April 4, 2008
Additional links to:
Census Bureau statement
Statement of Steve Murdock, Director of the Census Bureau

Popline blocks “abortion” searches

Health Database Set up to ignore abortion
Robert Pear | NY TIMES
April 5, 2008
This action was relatively short-lived:

2008 C2S Summer Biomarker Institute

2008 C2S Summer Biomarker Institute
June 9-11, 2008
Northwestern University
Evanston, IL
The institute is designed to provide a hands-on introduction to state-of-the-art methods for integrating biomarkers into population-based, social science research, covering technical as well as conceptual issues associated with biological measurement in naturalistic settings.