Magritte, The Ignorant Fairy    

The Science of Sex

Basic Sex Differences (3)

Peer Group Loading

Excerpts from Section 14 of

The Tyranny of Ambiguity

HUMAN CHARACTERISTICS AT THREE LEVELS. It is proposed that every human characteristic exists at three major levels. This includes insecurity, paranoia, neurosis and Thanatos. Using happiness as an example, an individual might be happy, a group of people might be happy, or a society as a whole might be so. There may be a fourth level, a global happiness, but since no other population is available for comparison such opinions must remain totally arbitrary.

PEER GROUP LOADING, PGL. An important characteristic is an individual’s susceptibility to influence. This also exists on three levels. For example, a person might be attacked by an American, and then there would be at least the start of a tendency for that person to conclude that all Americans attack, or at a minimum, to tend to be shy of Americans. Alternatively the person might hear of a friend or colleague being so attacked, and be less likely to conclude that Americans in general attack. Finally, the person might read in the newspaper that an American attacked someone, and the report hardly be noticed at all. The situation, and the balance of influences, would change if the experiences or reports were repeated and reinforced, for example if the person in the first instance received another attack from a completely unrelated American.

The susceptibility of an individual to influence according to the source of that influence is bound to vary according to gender. Furthermore, it may be that not only is the relative balance between the three levels different for males and females, the categories themselves possess certain fundamental dissimilarities. They may be as shown in Table 5.

Table 5. Categories of Influence

individual personal
peer relational
societal community

We go on to consider some observations which might justify this appraisal, or at least give some clues to the major influential factors affecting males and females.

PGL, SINGULAR: INDIVIDUAL/PERSONAL. A female while pregnant can feel as if she is the most important person in the world. Normally, that is if she is not pregnant and is given the opportunity, females appear to tend to the view that their personal feelings are of paramount importance. Males however have the ability to suppress their individuality in furtherance of a greater objective. This is evident by the male willingness to self-sacrifice and tolerance of risk, for example in war or other hazardous but necessary occupations such as Fire and Lifeboat Services.

PGL, MULTIPLE: PEER/RELATIONAL. A husband is often practically ignored on the arrival of a baby and this points to a singular focus of female emotional attention.

PGL, MASS: SOCIETAL/COMMUNITY. An interesting outcome associated with PGL was the result of the Nixon-Kennedy Presidential Election Debate in 1960. The debate was broadcast simultaneously on TV and radio at a time when the radio audience was a more substantial component. The TV audience of 73 million thought that Kennedy had won, while the 12 million radio listeners thought that Nixon had won the arguments overall. Since Kennedy won by only 120,000 out of a total of 69 million votes cast, this factor almost certainly cost Nixon the election.

Females will quote and discuss television soap operas as if they were reality, seemingly oblivious that the personalities are merely actors and actresses following a fictitious plot. This syndrome is sufficiently bizarre that it must warrant a rational explanation, but at the time of writing none suggested itself.4

PROPOSED TRIPLE TENDENCY OF FEMALES TO CONFORM. It is proposed that females have a greater tendency to conform. The following may be significant factors.

  1. There is greater uniformity of females, in that there is less deviation from average values for certain characteristics (Distribution 1). The greater uniformity of females produces less variation of opinion and behaviour;
  2. Females have a weaker ego and are thus more impressionable;
  3. Females may be less able to resist peer pressure, and in some respects may be more suggestible. They place greater emphasis on the opinions of others; observably, females always go with the pack.

Because of the sex differences detailed here all attempts to make women contribute equally to society will fail. There is positive discrimination, such as encouragement to females to take up studentships as engineers, but even this is not enough. A few examples of successful women in such fields are held up as examples but these are exceptions which prove the rule (assuming that they are not phoney media hype). Females’ lack of practical ability may mean that they gravitate into management or supervisory positions and exert a conforming influence, stultifying it.6


4. Eighteen months later, while writing Section 35, an explanation was provided (the Reidentification Syndrome). The phenomenon of quoting soap operas as if they are real life appears to be common to females of all ages.

5. (Edited, web version is abridged.)

6. This is certainly an understatement. Further, there is a maxim: “First-rate people hire first-rate people, second-rate people hire third-rate people.”

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