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Nov 20: Rebecca Jordan-Young – Are Sex Differences Hardwired?
Nov 18th, 2010 by Sam

2010-11-20-samantha-clemens.Mp3

Men are Mars and women are Venus, right? That’s what we ‘know.’ That’s what the research says. Men don’t ask directions. Women can’t do math as well. Men don’t talk about their feelings. All women want to do it talk.

It’s all in fun, until parents and teachers and Larry Summers make decisions that affect lives based on … the science.

Except, is that what the science actually says? How rigorous has the research been? Has the peer review system really worked?

Rebecca Jordan-Young, a Barnard College professor of women’s studies, joins us to discuss her book “Brain Storm,” where she sets out to debunk the proliferating “brain-organization” studies that attempt to explain in purely biological terms (since XX and XY seem not to be enough) why males and females differ in one way or another. Or, in some cases, fail to differ.

The book.

Reviews:

LA Times: Book review: ‘Brain Storm: The Flaws in the Science of Sex Differences’ by Rebecca M. Jordan-Young

“Issues of gender understandably provoke a lot of red-faced uproar in all sorts of warring quarters. Neuroscientist Simon LeVay’s 1991 report in Science locating male homosexuality in an area of the hypothalamus and Lawrence H. Summers’ suggestion, while he was still president of Harvard, that the unequal number of tenured male and female scientists indicates “a difference in aptitude” are signal examples.”

Powell’s Books: Brainstorm: The Flaws in the Science of Sex Differences by Rebecca M. Jordan-young – Powell

“Jordan-Young interviewed virtually every major researcher in the field and reviewed hundreds of published scientific papers. Her conclusion: ‘Brain organization theory is little more than an elaboration of long-standing folk tales about antagonistic male and female essences and how they connect to antagonistic male and female natures.’ She explains, in exquisite detail, the flaws in the underlying science, from experimental designs that make no statistical sense to ‘conceptually sloppy’ definitions of male and female sexuality, contradictory results, and the social construction of normality. Her conclusion that the patterns we see are far more complicated than previously believed and due to a wider range of variables will shake up the research community and alter public perception. “

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