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Cognitive Style Predicts Entry Into Physical Sciences and Hu
Transcript of Cognitive Style Predicts Entry Into Physical Sciences and Hu
Billington et al (empathizing and systemizing) conducted a snapshot self report study to investigate
cognitive style and entry into physical sciences and humanities. An alternative way to investigate
this would be to conduct a longitudinal study of children and their eventual choice of subject at
Outline the snapshot method and describe how it was used in Billington et al’s study. 
Design an alternative study to the Billington et al study using the longitudinal method and
describe how it could be conducted. 
AICE Question #1
The sex difference between the two academic disciplines was 59.1% of the physical science students were males and 70.1% of humanities students were female
66% of males were either Type S or Extreme Type S compared to 28.8% of females
36.8% of females were either Type E or Extreme Type E compared to 10.8% of males
Females scored significantly higher than males on the Eyes Test; no significant difference on the EFT
Overall, the questionnaires and tasks suggest that there is a S<E profile in females and a S>E profile in males
Of physical science students 56.3% were (Extreme) Type S compared to 29.9% of humanities students
Of humanities students, 41.5% were (Extreme) Type E compared to 14.2% of physical scientist
The predictors of degree subject entry from best to worst are brain type, performance on test of empathy and field independence, and them sex
to retest the sex ratio in physical sciences and humanities
to test whether or not males are more systemizing, while females are more empathizing
to test if physical science students are (S>E) and if humanities students a (E>S)
to test if cognitive style is a better predictor than sex in explaining a student's enrollment into physical sciences or humanities
Subjects had to complete two questionnaires and two tasks as a part of the study which were carried out via the university's website
Participants were required to provide basic info such as, sex, date of birth, handedness, diagnoses of medical conditions educational levels and degree types
The tasks could be completed in order and the participants could split the task up over multiple sessions
SQ-R had 75 questions with a min. score of zero and a max score of 150
EQ had 45 questions with a min. score of 0 and a max. score of 80.
responses were definitely agree, slightly agree, slightly disagree, and definitely disagree
Brain types were calculated (Type S, Type E, Type B, Extreme Type S, and Extreme Type E
EFT where subjects were told they were going to see 12 pairs of diagrams and they had to find the black and white shape in one of the two larger more complex diagrams, they pressed a to indicate if their answer was the left or right picture (50s)
Also used the Eyes Test (20s)
questionnaire scores for both the EQ and the SQ showed significant sex differences
regardless of sex , stronger systemizing and weaker empathizing was associated with students in the physical sciences
the findings suggest that the sex ratio of certain occupations or degree subjects reflect differences in systemizing and empathizing
study shows that it may be useful to adapt teaching methods to suit individual cognitive styles
AICE Question #2
The study by Billington et al (empathizing and systemizing) categorized student participants into
those studying physical science and those studying humanities subjects. Name four subjects
which were categorized as physical science.
In general men outnumber women in jobs that require scientific thinking, whereas women outnumber men in jobs that require more social skills.
Two proposed cognitive styles that can explain these differences between genders:
Empathizing- "the drive and the ability to identify another's mental states and to respond to these with one of a range of appropriate emotions"
Systemizing- "the drive and ability to analyze the rules underlying a system, in order to predict its behavior"
E-S theory states that females are better at empathizing, while males are better at systemizing
415 total subjects chosen from an online database categorized as either physical science or humanities students ( 203 male, 212 female); average age of 21
87.7% right-handed, 10.6% left-handed, 1.7% ambidextrous
Recruited through emails and advertizements at Cambridge University
A drawing for a prize if the completed all the tasks in the experiment
Subjects were excluded if they had any history with psychiatric illness
Physical sciences included: mathematics, physics, physical and natural sciences, chemistry, computer science, geology, astronomy, etc.
Humanities included: classics, languages, drama, education, law, architecture, history, music, etc.
Independent Variable: gender of the participants/whether the students were studying humanities or physical sciences
Dependent Variable: subjects performance on the tasks and questionnaires
Cognitive Style Predicts Entry Into Physical Sciences and Humanities