Behaviour is difficult to measure, but many scientists – male and female – agree about certain differences between the sexes. They say that girls are superior at reading and understanding difficult material, and they speak more fluently. Boys are generally better at mathematics. They shine at such skills as reading maps and finding their way of mazes – and they are without doubt more aggressive both physically and verbally. That doesn’t mean, of course, that any one boy is better at maths than any particular girl, or that he is necessarily more aggressive. Scientists are talking about the average.
Psychologists Eleanor Maccoby and Carol Jacklin analyzed more than 2,000 evidence of standard differences in boys’ and girls’ behaviour. Others searched for a biological explanation. Many scientists say that male aggression stems from androgen hormones, which trigger male secondary sexual characteristics, such as muscle bulk in the chest and shoulders, deepening of the voice, and the growth or hair on the chest and face. Among these androgen’s is the hormone testosterone.
Aggression in men may come from prehistoric times, when only adept fighters were likely to survive. To scientists who argue that the biological evidence is inconclusive, anthropologists point out that in cultures worldwide men are the hunters and killers. It’s rare form women to go to war. If similarities exist between otherwise different societies, behavioural scientists say they are likely to stem from biological, not environmental, factors. There are always body wonders.