naath: (Default)
[personal profile] naath
Yesterday I forgot to post; too busy freezing my arse off in a muddy field.

This is yesterday's post. One for today later.

Yesterday's annoyance was going to be "goddawful weather" which seems to gravitate towards any 10k race I enter... However there was a more annoying thing.

It is my habit to listen to BBC podcasts whilst running (outdoors; at the gym I watch news 24) this is because I get bored very easily. Anyway, a podcast that I was listening to was women's hour and a thing they were talking about was some research about baby girls liking faces more and baby boys like mechanical things more. This research apparently showed that there is some small bias towards this arrangement.

Now, personally I think it's pretty hard to find children who haven't been influenced by social norms; even very tiny children are treated differently by adults by gender.

But lets assume this is true - girls just "naturally" prefer people and boys just "naturally" prefer machines. Well, this research was claiming it's sort of a small bias; not a huge one. So it isn't Girls Are A vs Boys Are B; it's "girls are on average a bit more A and boys are on average a bit more B".

This doesn't tell you anything about YOUR BABY - it can tell you what your baby is "more likely" to enjoy; but you don't need that, your baby is RIGHT THERE you can consult them! OK, when your baby is a few days old they aren't very consultable; but toddlers can be quite vocal about which toy they want! You don't need to say "oh Suzy clearly wants a doll" when Suzy is demanding mechanno every visit to the toy store :-p

This is also true of a lot of things that are supposedly clearly divided into male/female - none of these things are clear cut "Men X, Women notX"; they are overlapping distributions. You can't look at a woman and know that she's worse at X than ALL MEN (or better at notX than all men); whilst the fastest marathon runner in the world is a man, the fastest woman marathon runner at the olympics would have come 60th were she racing in the men's olympic marathon which had 85 finishers - sure she is slower than the fastest man, but she is faster than 25 men who qualified for the olympic marathon, she is faster than *most men* if you wanted to hire a fast runner there is no point in saying that men are faster than women so you'll just look at the men.

Anyway; even where it is true that more men are more X than women (or vice versa) it is almost never true that all men are (all men are men and all women are women; which tautology is probably the only 100% true statement of that form), and there's no point to using these generalisations when deciding who you are going to hire, or pick for your team, or what you're going to buy your 5 year old for Christmas. Much better to find out the X-ness of the individuals who are actually relevant.

(no subject)

Date: 2012-11-05 10:17 am (UTC)
rmc28: Photo of me shortly before starting my first half-marathon (Default)
From: [personal profile] rmc28
In my experience, even babies a few days hours old can communicate what they do and don't want. The thing is paying attention to them ...

(no subject)

Date: 2012-11-05 10:34 am (UTC)
ptc24: (Default)
From: [personal profile] ptc24
There's the smell of Baron-Cohen about that research. Let's see... a paper - oh, that's a rotten paper. I'm sure there's a problem with the standard deviation scores, I'd liked to have calculated d. Figure 2 is interesting - by God, that's a bad graph, why does the Y-axis have 0.5, 1.0, 1.5, 2.0 if it has _counts_ of things in it? Surely just 1, 2 etc.

Anyway, yes, there's a distribution. Out of 60 sprogs, the sprog with the third most male-typical LPR (Looking Preference Ratio) was a girl, the sprog with the second-most female-typical LPR (Looking Preference Ratio) was a boy. And it doesn't look like they were crazy outliers.

I _want_ the raw data so I can analyse it. However, on first glance, it looks there's rather more overlap here than between things like height and athletic ability.

(no subject)

Date: 2012-11-05 11:11 am (UTC)
ptc24: (Default)
From: [personal profile] ptc24
There does appear to be a correlation between being a Baron-Cohen and being grrr-arrgh-inducing... As I see it; he seems to have a knack for finding the most annoying way possible to describe any experimental result, (I think) short of outright lying. Also, he likes to talk to the press and the public, and to be all iconoclastic and controversial.

(no subject)

Date: 2012-11-05 11:20 am (UTC)
kaberett: Overlaid Mars & Venus symbols, with Swiss Army knife tools at other positions around the central circle. (Default)
From: [personal profile] kaberett
YES THAT IS HIS PAPER

THERE IS EVERYTHING WRONG WITH IT

EVERYTHING WRONG WITH IT

In particular:
  • the person showing the mobile & face to the babies knew what gender the baby had been assigned
  • the mobile & face were shown one after the other: on a timescale where neonates just, uh, don't have that much attention span and are probably asleep, actually
  • the babies were not kept in consistent positions: some were sitting, some were lying down
  • THERE ARE MORE PROBLEMS WITH THIS PAPER BUT I CANNOT REMEMBER THEM OFF THE TOP OF MY HEAD


Basically, SBC's methodology is so repeatedly and inherently flawed in ways that the rest of the community doing research into this kind of thing already knows about and corrects for that he should never fucking be allowed anywhere near another penny of grant money.


...


I'm incredibly bitter about him.

(no subject)

Date: 2012-11-05 11:21 am (UTC)
rmc28: Photo of me shortly before starting my first half-marathon (Default)
From: [personal profile] rmc28
The person showing knew the assigned gender ?!? Oh ffs.

(no subject)

Date: 2012-11-05 01:13 pm (UTC)
kaberett: Overlaid Mars & Venus symbols, with Swiss Army knife tools at other positions around the central circle. (Default)
From: [personal profile] kaberett
I actually cheered at the point in Cordelia Fine's book Delusions of Gender where she dedicates a chapter to slowly and patiently explaining why his entire approach to the scientific process is a disaster.

(no subject)

Date: 2012-11-05 11:25 am (UTC)
kaberett: Overlaid Mars & Venus symbols, with Swiss Army knife tools at other positions around the central circle. (Default)
From: [personal profile] kaberett
(Reasons that I am incredibly bitter include him giving a talk about this paper at my sixth form's A-level awards evening... to a room full of lay people... with no discussion whatsoever about the overlap, statistical significance of his results, etc: so that's a room full of people who walked away with the keynote idea that "women can't do science".

Also that whole bit where he persists in using the terminology "male brain" and "female brain" when... more than um 50% of the people who test as having a "male brain" according to his bullshit scores... are female.

Also the stupid fucking "Asperger's Quotient Test", which I was VERY GOOD about, i.e. I did not write a detailed critique of his methodology and introduction of stereotype threat etc all over. If I had I might've scored higher than "borderline mild" ;) )

(no subject)

Date: 2012-11-05 11:05 am (UTC)
lethargic_man: (reflect)
From: [personal profile] lethargic_man
Anyway; even where it is true that more men are more X than women (or vice versa) it is almost never true that all men are (all men are men and all women are women; which tautology is probably the only 100% true statement of that form),

And even not that when you consider that male/female is not as binary a dichotomy as it appears.

and there's no point to using these generalisations when deciding who you are going to hire, or pick for your team, or what you're going to buy your 5 year old for Christmas. Much better to find out the X-ness of the individuals who are actually relevant.

Possibly not the best way of putting it when it makes your readers (or at least this one) think of X chromosomes. ;^b

(no subject)

Date: 2012-11-05 01:15 pm (UTC)
kaberett: Overlaid Mars & Venus symbols, with Swiss Army knife tools at other positions around the central circle. (Default)
From: [personal profile] kaberett
And small furry creatures from Alpha Centuri are REAL etc etc ;)

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