15 Mar 2012

Men are more brilliant (and stupid) than women

I basically said this last year, but this compilation of "fail" helps you see the flip side of all the brilliance that gets our attention -- all the (painful!) idiocy that men pursue in their quest to "make a mark."

Watch it, but be prepared to cringe...

Here's a Dutch selection

From a statistical perspective, I'd use this image:
If call the outcome "innovation," then women (solid trace) are closer to average and men (dashed trace) are in the fat tails -- making relatively more contributions on the extremes of positive and negative outcomes (e.g., Pasteur and Hitler, respectively).*

In my paper on the effects of gender on cooperation games, it is women in fact who change their behavior to balance the group when conditions change. Their "buffering" equalizes groups payoffs, making it more likely that the group -- men and women -- can survive into the future (this is called, I think, an evolutionarily stable strategy).

Bottom Line: Men have a comparative advantage in finding new ways to succeed AND fail. Women are better at stabilizing groups and picking up the pieces. Those complementary gender roles help all of us.

* Want to be on the "right side" of history? Here are some ideas of how to be a better man.

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