Some tiny creature, mad with wrath,

Is coming nearer on the path.

--Edward Gorey

Location: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S. Outlying Islands

Writer, lawyer, cyclist, rock climber, wanderer of dark residential streets, friend.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

A Slightly More Robust Test, But Still a Test

So FrightenedMonkey directs attention to BBC's somewhat time-consuming, somewhat challenging, and actually quite interesting test designed to assess your masculine and feminine characteristics. It's way more robust than Quizilla-type garbage, and I am curious with the results.

Here's a nutshell of mine:

On judging relative angles, which gets at the spacial abilities typical of men, I came in quite average among men at 15 ot of 20: "You found this test neither hard nor easy. This suggests your brain has male and female traits when it comes to spatial ability." Based on the rate of success, I suspect that I figured out a surefire trick to get all of these right, since I was slavishly testing my hypothesis for the last dozen or so samples. If I'm right, I could get a 20 next time. But I suppose that's not the point (although I suspect trying to beat tests is, itself, a fairly masculine trait).

At "Spot the Difference," where they give you a minute to review a diagram of a couple dozen objects randomly arrayed and then ask you to determine which object moved in a second diagram, I was utterly mediocre, scoring 36%, slightly under the 39% male average and well below the female average of 46%. This suggests, once again, "a balanced female-male brain."

Next, in virtue of the way I fold my hands I am evidently left brained, hence more "verbal and analytical." There's a suggestive comment on the page about right-brained people being better fighters and artists, but it just offers a hyperlink. I'll assume this is fighter and artist product placement, or maybe right-brained person product placement, and in any case irrelevant. Eff them's what I say.

And here's where it gets rocky: I'm ultra-melodramatic, totally caught up in the actual or conjectured emotional lives of people I know and random strangers, constantly putting myself into other people's shoes, yet I'm graded a hair above the male average for empathy. Bah, this test is flawed. I wish I were less empathic, to be honest; it eats me up sometimes this worrying about people I don't know for reasons partially or wholly imagined. Silliness.

At "Systemising," on the other hand, I begin to excel, scoring a whopping 17 out of 20, crushing the women (8) and the men (12.5). This, evidently, "suggests you're good at analysing or building systems." Then the study goes on to posit a link between empathy and systemising, which further suggests their empathy test is flawed. Bitches.

In evaluating several subject photos of eyes and considering what among four offered emotions applies, I earned 8 of 10; women and men both average 6.6. According to this, "Your result suggests you are a good empathiser, sensitive to other people's emotions." Yet more evidence that the dude who wrote the empathy portion of the test ought to be dragged outside and shot. Or whatever the British have as an equivalent. Which would probably be the same thing, but boiled and entirely devoid of flavor.

The study also notes that "Men often think a person's eyes are sending signals of desire when that's not the case at all." I'd just like to point out that desire was only an option on one or two photos, or else that's how I would have answered all of them. The girl photos anyway.

Then there's the whole finger-measuring thing, which suggests a) I got a healthy dose of testosterone in the womb and b) somehow, one ring finger got a lot longer than the other. I blame years of rock climbing, after which I'm just lucky to have all my fingers.

I also prefer feminine faces.

There was another spatial test, too, where one had to choose a couple of three dimensional shapes that were identical to, but rotated differently than, an index shape. Moon, in typical bad-ass fashion, scored a perfect 12 out of 12. "Are you an engineer or do you have a science background?" asks the test? I drop mad science.

Finally, on the verbal portion of the test, calling for a sort of free association designed to generate words, I'm evidently so girlie it's scary. Male type brains typically come up with 1 - 5 words. Female type brains with 6 - 10. I came up with 18.

The net result. On a spectrum with a midpoint of zero and 100% gender extremes on each side, I fall on the 25% male mark, which is half as male as the average, you know, male. Which might explain a lot. But I'll still kick anyone's ass at rotating shapes, just watch me.

Enough of this.

Go visit Frightened Monkey's discussion and critique. Or just take the test.


Anonymous binky said...

That test made the round of another board I frequent, and about half the women dropped out at the point where is makes you choose whether you prefer men or women for a partner.

5:54 PM  
Blogger jason said...

Matching shapes is awesome. I killed it. My word association was bad, horrible, bad...not good.

6:27 PM  
Anonymous binky said...

Well, I quit before finishing, but up until that point was scoring very male.

7:05 PM  
Blogger Scott said...

I'm left brained and womanly according to my hands. And when it comes to my brain, I score like the average woman (50 Female). I like masculine faces, I'm bad with angles, am hugely empathetic, and I kill at "spot the difference".

12:50 PM  
Blogger Michael said...

I killed at spot the difference and 3D shapes and was horrid at pretty much everything else.

I felt really put off by the test in some way, but I couldn't really explain why. Part of it's what I wrote at the top of my post (which wasn't a thorough criticism in the least) that I felt it was too oriented on traditional notions of gender (men like maps and gadgets/women are communicators and empathic).

I think the test is interesting mostly insofar as it explores differences in how we problem solve and conceptualize. If there were some data showing that those who are really good at 3D Shapes are also really good at eating chicken pot pie, then I think I might be more ... something. Until then, I'm not sure I can explain why I think the test's interesting, just that it's something more than the usual. Bah, I'm not very eloquent today.

4:29 PM  
Blogger emily said...

according to this test, i'm as androgynous as an 80s hair band -- right in the middle, neither male nor female in the brain.

i was only 11/12 for the 3D shapes... so close!

i'm such a sucker, though, for these online tests. must be my penchant for cheap thrills...

9:08 PM  

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