Throughout the twentieth century, a substantial body of research has been devoted to exploring gender differences in various cognitive processes. With more and more women entering the labor force and holding positions that require decision-making skills, it is surprising how few (if any) research studies have been published that explore specifically gender differences in decision making. The purpose of this paper is to examine gender differences in information processing and decision making behavior. The sections that follow will provide a brief overview of psychological and biological gender differences, as well as gender differences in decision strategy selection.
Psychological and Biological Gender Differences.
Everyone knows that men and women are different. But, aside from external anatomical, primary and secondary sexual differences, the research indicates that there are many subtle differences in the way men and women process language, information, emotion, cognition, etc. .
The largest differences appear in the way men and women estimate time, judge the speed of moving objects, process language, carry out mental mathematical calculations, orient in space and visualize objects in three dimensions4. In all these tasks, women and men are strikingly different6. The "father" of sociobiology, (Edward O. Wilson, of Harvard University) said that, "Women are better than men in human relations, recognizing emotional overtones in others and in language, emotional and artistic expressiveness, esthetic appreciation, verbal language and carrying out detailed and pre-planned tasks. For example, women generally can recall lists of words or paragraphs of text better than men. Whereas men tend to be higher in independence, dominance, spatial and mathematical skills and rank-related aggression.".
What are the reasons for these differences? Some researchers blame genes and biological differences, yet others claim that cultural learning is the culprit.