Men and Women Are From Earth: Examining the Latent Structure of Gender
Bobbi Carothers and Harry Reis
Taxometric methods enable determination of whether the latent structure of a construct is dimensional or taxonic (nonarbitrary categories). Although sex as a biological category is taxonic, psychological gender differences have not been examined in this way. The taxometric methods of mean above minus below a cut, maximum eigenvalue, and latent mode were used to investigate whether gender is taxonic or dimensional. Behavioral measures of stereotyped hobbies and physiological characteristics (physical strength, anthropometric measurements) were examined for validation purposes, and were taxonic by sex. Psychological indicators included sexuality and mating (sexual attitudes and behaviors, mate selectivity, sociosexual orientation), interpersonal orientation (empathy, relational-interdependent self-construal), gender-related dispositions (masculinity, femininity, care orientation, unmitigated communion, fear of success, science inclination, Big Five personality), and intimacy (intimacy prototypes and stages, social provisions, intimacy with best friend). Constructs were with few exceptions dimensional, speaking to Spence’s (1993) gender identity theory. Average differences between men and women are not under dispute, but the dimensionality of gender indicates that these differences are inappropriate for diagnosing gender-typical psychological variables on the basis of sex.