The Last Word On The COGIATI Test
I'm unsure if you are aware, but your COGIATI test has been attacked on Dr Anne Lawrences' site. I have done your test many times, pre-HRT i was scoring about +65, and having been on hormones for some time, i've been scoring about +300. I've always answered all questions as i've honestly felt.
This test, which i didn't ever realize was invented by you, has always seemed rather silly to me. It does classify female thoughts and experiences as submissive, and has put a lot of basis on the fact that, in this test, women are hopeless at direction, driving, sounds, maths, yet all too good at writing, cuddling, emotional issues.
Can you please tell your readers how you base this test. How and why you appear to see Females as inferior to males in academic and direction. Why you also pose some questions twice or 3 times?
Great gooey goddess am I tired of this question. Mostly I am tired of the fact that people simply do not bother to Read The Instructions. Everything about the COGIATI, from how it is scored, to why there are duplicate questions is all right there, on my site, in the preface material to the test.
I wish someone could answer for me why people cannot be bothered to read the instructions before they fiddle with something.
Nevertheless, I will answer you, as I have so many others, and I will even try to be polite about this issue of bothering to actually read.
First off, the COGIATI, which stands for 'Combined Gender Identity And Transsexuality Inventory', is partly inspired by three existing tests, the BEM, the MMPI (Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory) and the Moire-Jessel. It combines elements of all these tests, hence the name. It has 65 questions, and the majority of them are all based only on supported and documented neurological research. Ten of the questions are in the sprit of the BEM, a very famous, legitimate, but -in my opinion- highly faulty test, for reasons I will get into. Those ten questions are indeed based on cultural stereotypes, but still, they are there for a reason. No one question, by itself can affect the outcome of the COGIATI, and only a fairly heavy weight will shift the results into one of the five classes of result.
The reason that some questions are repeated is a reflection of the MMPI. The MMPI is a standard of psychology, and is used by everyone, from doctors, to the military, to determine psychological problems. It has some 1500 questions (if I remember correctly), but all 1500 are really repeats, in differing words, of only 15 questions. These 15 questions really boil down to things like "Do you seriously plan the details of killing people a lot?", and other basic ways to bluntly ask if someone is thinking really dangerous and sick thoughts. If one could truly force a person to answer such questions honestly, one would know the degree of danger any person represented. However, people lie. They lie to others, and they lie to themselves, and they seldom admit clearly horrible things that could get them in complicated situations involving prison or hospitalization. There is no absolute way to tell if someone is lying, or to force them to speak the truth. However, it is possible to wear them down so much, that out of exhaustion, or out of a need to stop hiding, they 'accidentally on purpose' let such information slip. 15 questions repeated 100 times, in different ways. After that little four-hour brutal test, it is almost impossible to hide perfectly. That is the super-ultra secret of the famous and respected MMPI.
It is also why I also bother to repeat a few questions in different ways. Now you may ask, why did I not create a test that is 2000 questions long? I will tell you. Because I am not being paid for this, it is not my life's work, and most of all, the COGIATI is a prototype.
I will say that again. As is stated all over the test, in big block letters, in fact at one point in bright RED oversized block letters -so that only an idiot might miss them- the COGIATI is a prototype. It was designed for only one target: the curious, unsure, pre-operative POTENTIAL Male-To-Female transsexual (not a post-op, not someone who is already certain, not a Female-To-Male, not anyone else who fails to fit the stated definition target). Further, it was constructed for that given target only because no scientifically and medically based test for such people exists. None. Anywhere. I saw that there was a void, no physicians were filling it, and so I set to work. The COGIATI is a challenge to the scientific and medical community to follow my example, and do a better job than I. While I have a background in biochemistry, I cannot claim to be a professional, or to have those desperately legitimizing credentials that Mean So Much. But I do have one thing...the willingness to at least try to help people, as accurately and as carefully as I can.
Still, I can only hope that someday, my challenge is taken up. Instead, what I am finding is that professionals around the world are making my test a standard, and I have mixed feelings about that. On one hand, they are the very people who are supposed to be my superiors, so if they consider my test to be valid, then who am I to argue. They know the research I based my test on as well as I, better in fact, because they themselves may have been involved in it...as some who have written to me have been. On the other hand, I cannot escape the terror of the onus of 'No Credentials'. The cult of 'Pigskin' affects me too. Therefore, I cannot but doubt my own value and legitimacy.
The COGIATI, save for the ten questions I mentioned earlier, is based entirely on current neurological research. It was not constructed arbitrarily, nor was it constructed to benefit my own feelings. Indeed, much of the current research into neurology bothers me greatly. Not because I doubt it, I see and value the reality of the research, and the findings -I do not deny reality- but I do not always like the results. I, like many people, am bothered when reality intrudes on cherished beliefs and ideals. For instance, I long clung to the idea that we are all born as blank slates, and that our behaviors were trained and not governed by genes and chemistry. It left room for a soul, it left room for complete freedom, it made something of us all that was greater than the animal world. But I cannot deny reality. Our personalities, our tastes, our gender identity, and much else besides, is clearly and inescapably controlled by Nature. It was idiotic, really to ever think otherwise. We are not gods, we are animals, just like any animal. We are primates too, and what is true for them, is also true for us, and we are made of meat, and meat is controlled by biology, because that is what meat IS.
The brutal real fact of things, is that quite an uncomfortable bit of our universal human ideas about gender, what might be called the 'world culture' about gender, is not entirely arbitrary. It isn't just made up inventions of fancy. It has, like all stereotypes, like all legends, like all culture, a basis in the real world. Some seed of actual observation is at the core of human invention, and this is true of culture. I feel foolish for being so blind in the past to how this would also be true of gender. We are animals, what we do reflects our meat. Now, not all gender culture has a basis in reality...most of it is invention. But certain key stereotypes, behaviors, and 'rules' are universal. Absolute, no matter how isolated or alien the culture might be from, say, suburban White middle-class notions of Truth. All human mothers, in every language, in every part of the globe, everywhere, all speak to babies in the same 'sing-song' pattern. The same set of musical notes. And all human babies, everywhere, respond to this sound, in any language, right out of the womb. It is hard wired. It is inborn, it is animal music.
Such clues are what led scientists and medical professionals to discover that brains have physical sex. This sex is clear and easy to see, it has many real world effects apart from gender issues. It is why women survive strokes better than men, and regain function faster. Female brains are different than male brains. The real surprise here is how much investment people have had in wanting to believe this was not true, that somehow humans were 'above Nature'. We are not. We ARE Nature, too.
Female brains do things differently than male brains. Not better, not worse, just different. This is the problem most people have. Judgement of better or worse. Male brains are actually, really, ON AVERAGE -there are exceptions, always exceptions, albeit rare exceptions- better at computing spacial relationships, and with that, mathematics as well. Female brains are vastly, clearly better at facial and emotional recognition, better -on average- at language, and at differentiating sounds. This is real. This is not culture, but it contributes to how people create culture. Culture reflects these things...around the world. Because they are real.
What I object to is the belligerent fools who would get upset at this. I have had people argue to me endlessly about how this proves that men are 'better', or that women are 'better', in some Absolute, Ultimate way. Horse Feces! Women are better at some skills, on average, and men are better at some skills, on average, but there is some crossover too. There is crossover, because mistakes happen during development in the womb. Males and females are clumsily constructed, because Nature is not perfect. Nature is sloppy. So there is crossover, and sometimes, occasionally you will have a female mathematical genius with superb spacial skills. We even have an idea of how often this occurs...the best current estimate is 1 in 300. The same goes for males with superior language skills, or incredible grasp of emotion and facial expressions. Interestingly, in the latter, such is most commonly associated with also being gay, which is not surprising really, because male homosexuality can be defined as a partial, incomplete, transsexualization of the brain. This is born out by the same PET, CAT, and other tests that show sex linked brain functioning already.
No skill set is better in an Absolute way than any other. Without math, technology would fall. Without language, math could not be expressed. The differences between the sexes compliment each other, and exist because it could not be otherwise. Nature, evolution , is a frugal Bitch. Nature does not care what we want. Nature does not have a 'better' or a 'worse'. Nature does what Works.
The fact that male and female brains work differently, means that these differences will have real world, everyday, observable expression in the world. This is what has been exploited to create the questions of the COGIATI. The questions of the COGIATI reflect clear and observable averages of how male and female brains express their differences in the world, and these differences were used regardless of how I personally might like, dislike, or object to them. It does not matter what I WANT to believe about the world, what matters is reality.
That reality is embodied in the COGIATI. Except for a handful of questions, inspired by the BEM. Sandra Bem created a silly test that is now considered Gospel by the religion of Psychology. She created a list of words, and questioned most of the students at her college about what gender associations they had with regard to her list of words. Then she used that anecdotal result to make her now famous test, which was designed to determine gender affiliation by a measured degree of cultural absorption. In short, the BEM tests whether a person has been drawn to male, or to female, cultural indoctrinations. It is a test of the degree a person has 'bought into' a given set of male or female associations.
The idea, if clumsy, is not entirely without merit. Since cultural ideas about gender are derived, to a remarkable extent, by taking real observations about how males and females express their male and female brains, and then inflating and exaggerating these observations into overblown stereotypes, the degree that someone is drawn to one stereotype or another would seem to suggest something about the workings of their tastes, and thus their brains. It would be a very loose sort of something, but it would be there.
So, because the BEM is considered to be so very legitimate, so very respected, despite the reality of what it actually is, I felt the requirement to include aspects of it in my COGIATI, because I felt that it should not be utterly dismissed. It is not scientific, not in the useful way that direct scanning of living brains is, but it is Respected, and I caved in to Authority there. And ultimately, it does not hurt anything, because no one set of questions, or question types in the COGIATI can overwhelmingly affect the result. The COGIATI computes an average of all answers, and derives a result, using the same method as the MMPI, mentioned earlier.
When people complain to me that the COGIATI is nothing but stereotypes and nonsense, it clearly shows me two things. One is that these people are simply not up to date with regard to education. They do not follow the current research, they do not spend time each week reading scientific and medical journals, they are not continuing their education. That is sad. Education never ends. It must be continued until death. There is always something new to learn.
Secondly, it tells me that they are very, very prejudiced, and very, very bigoted, as every person is, except that they clearly do not KNOW this fact. All people have assumptions, judgments, and prejudices about the world. We are built to do this, in fact. There is so very much information, that the only way we can cope with it is to create simplified, general ideas about most things. There is not enough life span to test ever 'truth' we hear. That is all stereotypes are...simplified generalizations, and it is natural to have them. The important part, the bit that allows us to claim 'sentience' is the ability to constantly keep ourselves aware that this is so, and to change these ideas-about-things as new evidence is gained.
One very big, too often unquestioned set of generalizations are the 'Good' and 'Bad' judgments derived from patriarchy. Patriarchy teaches that Male skills are 'Greater' and that female skills are 'Lesser'. Mathematics is Great, but social skills are Lesser. That spacial control and comprehension, especially with regard to hitting, throwing, or blowing stuff up are Great, and that language and emotional interpretation are Lesser.
When someone complains to me that what has been discovered about the sex of brains, which is reflected in the COGIATI, somehow suggests that women are less interested in dominance, are more interested in emotions and words, and that this somehow makes them weak or useless, then I know that person has bought into patriarchy all the way. They are a card carrying supporter of patriarchy, and have swallowed the whole load of steaming 'Good' and 'Bad' judgements about things.
I am not, nor have I ever been, a lover of patriarchy. Neither am I a proponent of matriarchy, either. Neither male skills, NOR female skills, wiring, brain differences, or behaviors are better or worse than the other. Both maleness and femaleness are useful, and both are equally Great. They are different, but without both sets of skills and neurology, the ability to sit on my well padded ass and argue about such matters would not exist. Men do not deserve to Dominate, and neither do women. Sex differences are simply what they are: Useful for Human Survival. That's it. When we make one set important, and the other set unimportant we sell our ability to reason for membership in a prejudicial worldview, such as patriarchy is.
I don't play that. I think for a living.
So, in conclusion, the COGIATI is based on real world science, and the discoveries of that real world science do NOT diminish OR elevate any sex above, or below, any other. All any of this means is that the sexes are different, but really, that should NOT be a surprise to anyone. Any judgment about the merit of any one set of differences, beyond that, is bigotry, and I refuse to indulge, if I can avoid it. The COGIATI is a valid and accurate as I could possibly make it, and I hope many people in the future try to improve upon it. Unlike the BEM, and other tests, I do not charge money for the COGIATI, and I never will. It is for all humankind to use, and to build upon. And finally, for love of the gods, please, please READ THE INSTRUCTIONS on things -such as tests- FIRST.
Jennifer Diane Reitz