Last Updated: Thursday, 25 August 2005, 09:57 GMT 10:57 UK
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'Men cleverer than women' claim
Who will get a first?
Academics in the UK claim their research shows that men are more intelligent than women.
A study to be published later this year in the British Journal of Psychology says that men are on average five points ahead on IQ tests.
Paul Irwing and Professor Richard Lynn claim the difference grows when the highest IQ levels are considered.
Their research was based on IQ tests given to 80,000 people and a further study of 20,000 students.
Dr Irwing, a senior lecturer in organisational psychology at Manchester University, told the Today programme on BBC Radio Four that up until the age of 14, the study showed there was no difference between the IQs of boys and girls.
"But beyond that age and into adulthood there is a difference of five points, which is small but it can have important implications," he said.
"This is against a background of women dramatically overtaking men in educational attainment and making very rapid advances in terms of occupational achievement."
The academics used a test which is said to measure "general cognitive ability" - spatial and verbal ability.
As intelligence scores among the study group rose, the academics say they found a widening gap between the sexes.
There were twice as many men with IQ scores of 125, for example, a level said to correspond with people getting first-class degrees.
At scores of 155, associated with genius, there were 5.5 men for every woman.
Dr Irwing told The Times, the differences "may go some way to explaining the greater numbers of men achieving distinctions of various kinds, such as chess grandmasters, Fields medallists for mathematics, Nobel prize-winners and the like".
The paper will argue that there is evidence that at the same level of IQ, women are able to achieve more than men "possibly because they are more conscientious and better adapted to sustained periods of hard work".
Earlier this year, the president of Harvard University Lawrence Summers sparked controversy when he when he suggested at a seminar that one reason men outperformed women in maths and science was genetics.
Several guests walked out of the conference after hearing the comments.
Dr Summers, who has apologised repeatedly for his remarks, said later that the shortage of senior female academics was partly caused by child-minding duties, which restricted working hours.