Sex differences in the brain

Graphic from Slate
Graphic from Slate
I fear that I don’t link enough to Mind Hacks because I kind of assume that anyone who regularly reads us also checks out Vaughn’s excellent work over there. But he’s clued me into a series of articles on Slate that are excellent in his piece, Selling the ‘battle of the sexes.’ I won’t write something derivative here: you should really go read the piece by Vaughn and then link through to the series on Slate, starting with The Sex Difference Evangelists on several recent books that push the ‘sex differences are in the brain’ argument despite conflicting data. Vaughn nicely sums up the series by Amanda Schaffer:

Of course, there are cognitive differences between men and women, but the punchline of almost all sex difference research is that the extent of the difference between any two individuals, be they male or female, tends to vastly outweigh the average difference between the sexes.

Furthermore, while some of these books suggest the differences are innate many studies have found the differences change markedly over time and are influenced by cultural or social factors.

The series is well-researched, easy to digest and looks at the areas of communication, empathy, maths ability and development during childhood. It’s also accompanied by a three-part video discussion, which tackles similar issues.

And, as a bonus, when you link through to the material on Slate, there’s heaps of other links, including related book reviews, video segments, and other items (although some of it is not as solid as Schaffer’s work).
Graphic from Slate: http://www.slate.com/id/2194486/entry/2194488/.

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gregdowney

Trained as a cultural anthropologist at the University of Chicago, I have gone on to do fieldwork in Brazil and the United States, and look forward to a new project in New Zealand. I have written one book, Learning Capoeira: Lessons in Cunning from an Afro-Brazilian Art (Oxford, 2005). I have also co-edited several books, including, with Dr. Daniel Lende, The Encultured Brain: An Introduction to Neuroanthropology (MIT, 2012), and with Dr. Melissa Fisher, Frontiers of Capital: Ethnographic Reflections on the New Economy (Duke, 2006). My research interests include psychological anthropology, sport, dance, human rights, neuroscience, phenomenology, economic anthropology, and just about anything else that catches my attention.

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