Hardwired difference vs brain plasticity October 16, 2009Posted by Connie Chow in Gender differences?.
Tags: gender difference
From the Public Education Network
The narrow gap between ‘blue’ and ‘pink’ brains
“In a new book on gender and the brain that The Washington Post calls “masterful,” author Lise Eliot cites a study in which mothers watched their 11-month-olds crawl down a carpeted slope. The moms pushed a button to change the slope’s angle based on what they thought their children could handle, and the babies were afterward tested to see how steep a slope they could actually navigate. Though girls and boys were equally skilled at crawling and risk-taking, the mothers of the girls — unlike those of the boys — significantly underestimated their daughters’ ability. “Sex differences in the brain are sexy,” Eliot writes, so we tend to notice them everywhere, “but there’s enormous danger” in our exaggeration. It leads us to see gender at an early age and in terms of what we expect to see, and to assume that sex differences are innate and immutable. We forget that the differences within each sex are usually greater than the gaps between the two. Eliot debunks the recent exaggeration of brain-based sex differences in what the reviewer calls a “publishing flurry” from “credentialed authors who should know better.” Eliot also explains what the research on brain-based sex difference actually shows, and offers suggestions about how we can erase the small gaps for children instead of turning them into larger ones”.
Read the entire review. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/10/09/AR2009100902615.html