Cordelia Fine's Delusions of Gender: How Our Minds, Society, and Neurosexism Create Difference is an outstanding book, a must read for anyone interested in sexuality, gender, and who we are as human beings. Rebecca Jordan-Young's Brainstorm: The Flaws in the Science of Sex Difference is new to me, but it also seems to be a great book. Another book not featured is Pink Brain, Blue Brain: How Small Differences Grow Into Troublesome Gaps - And What We Can Do About It by Lise Eliot, which is a little geekier, but also very cool.
Simon Baron-Cohen (author of The Essential Difference) is also mentioned in this discussion, and Cordelia Fine has done a good job of discrediting some of his faulty generalizations about the differences between male and female brains. Baron-Cohen is responsible for some of the nonsense that says men are less capable of emotion, language, and being communal than women; and that women are less rational, agentic, and systematic than men - both of which are false. Unfortunately, the folks who think they are integral around gender issues have adopted many of his false premises.
Anyway, here is Natasha Mitchell's blog post for this week's show, followed by the show itself. This if good stuff.
My guests this week are psychologist Dr Cordelia Fine and sociomedical researcher Professor Rebecca Jordan-Young, and we're discussing a scientific hot potato. Hot, hot, hot! Climate change eat your heart out.
What does science tell us about how male and female brains differ? What conclusions can we and do we draw from any differences about capacity, capability, behaviour, choices, skills, communication styles...from map reading to numerical skills, systematizing to empathising, talking to listening, mothering to fathering?
As ever, gender ignites agendas.
Dr Fine and Professor Jordan-Young have painstakingly raked over the details of many of the key scientific studies into sex differences. They've looked at the methodologies used, assumptions made, conclusions drawn, and the way in which results often explode into the popular media like an incendiary device, frequently misconstrued as they land.
Their two new books have generated a lot of heat, and I'm sure you'd agree, it's a heat that matters.
We barely scratch the surface of their analyses in the discussion, so I encourage you to read them (along with Professor Simon Baron-Cohen's The Essential Difference). What they've unearthed is interesting, important and thought provoking and I'm sure it'll generate lots of rich conversation amongst you.
I look forward to reading that here on the blog or directly over on the All in the Mind website here (click on 'Add Your Comment').
Catch the show on air, online or as downloadable mp3 here.
Here's some extra audio from the discussion exclusive to the blog (which will make more sense when you hear the show):
So...women, men, boys, girls... or whoever you identify as...over to you.
Boy or girl? Blue brain or pink brain? Dr Cordelia Fine's new book, Delusions of Gender: The Real Science Behind Sex Differences, and Professor Rebecca Jordan-Young's latest, Brainstorm: The Flaws in the Science of Sex Difference, have raked over research data and mined the controversies on how male and female brains differ -- no holds barred.
Dr Cordelia Fine
Senior Research Associate
Centre for Values Agency and Ethics
Honorary Research Fellow
Department of Psychological Sciences
University of Melbourne
Professor Rebecca Jordan-Young
All in the Mind blog with Natasha Mitchell
Blog post for this week, includes EXTRA audio from this week's discussion with Cordelia Fine and Rebecca Jordan-Young.
Presenter Natasha Mitchell's Audioboo page
Audioboo is an audio blogging site. You can record and upload your own "audioboos" using your phone or the web. All in the Mind is experimenting with Audioboo to invite your responses and stories to program themes.
Title: Delusions of Gender - The Real Science Behind Sex Differences
Author: Dr Cordelia Fine
Publisher: Icon Books Ltd (2010). ISBN - 978-184831-201-2
Title: Brainstorm: The Flaws in the Science of Sex Differences
Author: Professor Rebecca M. Jordan-Young
Publisher: Harvard University Press (2010). ISBN: 978-0-674-05730-2.
Title: A Mind of Its Own
Author: Cordelia Fine
Publisher: Icon, 2006
Title: The Essential Difference: Male And Female Brains And The Truth About Autism
Author: Simon Baron-Cohen
Publisher: Basic Books (August 18, 2004)
Title: The Female Brain
Author: Louann Brizendine
Publisher: 2006, Broadway
Title: Why Gender Matters
Author: Leonard Sax
Publisher: Broadway (2006). ISBN: 978-0767916257
Title: What's in a Name?: The Controversy over Disorders of Sex Development
Author: Feder, E., and K. Karkazis.
Publisher: Hastings Center Report, 38(5): 33-36, (2008).
Title: Fixing Sex: Intersex, Medical Authority, and Lived Experience
Author: Katrina Karkazis
Publisher: Duke University Press (2008). ISBN: 978-0822343189
Title: From scanner to soundbite: Issues in interpreting and reporting sex differences in the brain
Author: Cordelia Fine
Publisher: Current Directions in Psychological Science 19: 280-283 , 2010
Title: Will working mothers' brains explode? The popular new genre of neurosexism.
Author: Cordelia Fine
Publisher: Neuroethics 1 (1): 69-72, 2008.
Natasha Mitchell/Corinne Podger