New research published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology offers proof that men and women are not as different as pop culture headlines, like 'Men are from Mars' and 'The End of Men,' would lead the public to believe.
Researchers Bobbi Carothers and Harry Reis evaluated physiological characteristics such as physical strength and body measurements. In these categories, the researchers found differences between men and women in some indicators of body type including height, arm circumference, and waist-to-hip ratio.
Researchers also evaluated behavioral measures, such as stereotyped hobbies. Here again they found differences between men and women. Women are more likely to spend a weekend working on a scrapbook than men are, and men are more likely to watch pornography than women are. However, other social psychology studies suggest that these variations may be cultural, or learned, behaviors and not inherently biological.
The key findings of this new research focus on the inherent psychological traits.
Carothers and Reis investigated a wide range of psychological indicators, including: sexuality and mating, interpersonal orientation, intimacy, and gender-related dispositions such as masculinity, femininity, care orientation, fear of success, science inclination, and others.
They found a wide range of variation among men, a wide range of variation among women, and considerable overlap in personality traits between men and women overall.
As summarized in Science Daily:
With very few exceptions, variability within each sex and overlap between the sexes is so extensive that the authors conclude it would be inaccurate to use personality types, attitudes, and psychological indicators as a vehicle for sorting men and women.
While the average for men may differ from the average for women, there is more within-group variation than there is difference in the averages.
In short, a man is just as likely to be different from another man as his is to be different from a woman. A woman is just as likely to be different from another woman as she is to be different from a man.