feimineach.com

A heads-up, just in case any of you were still inclined to take these studies at face value. On newrepublic:

The Wall Street Journal reported this week on a spate of controversial new studies suggesting behavioral differences between men and women are due to “hard-wiring” in the brain. In the most comprehensive study, published this month in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, biomedical scientists at the University of Pennsylvania compared brain images of nearly 1,000 men and women aged 8 to 22 and found that the connective tissues between the two hemispheres developed differently in men and women, particularly during adolescence—with significant behavioral consequences.

Women are mostly better connected left-to-right and right-to-left across the two brain hemispheres…Men are better connected within each hemisphere and from back-to-front. That suggests women might be better wired for multitasking and analytical thought, which require coordination of activity in both hemispheres. Men, in turn, may be better wired for more-focused tasks that require attention to one thing a time. But the researchers cautioned such conclusions are speculative.

The study has, unsurprisingly, attracted plenty of criticism—some of it informed, some of it less so. We shouldn’t ignore research whose implications we don’t like—but that seems to be the premise of one camp of critics, who call the study “too depressing to blog about” or claim that the researchers “threw a wet blanket on gender equality.” More convincing rebuttals come from scientists like Christian Jarrett, who argues that the researchers exaggerated the statistical significance of the differences between the male and female brains, and Cordelia Fine, author of Delusions of Gender, who suggests the differences the researchers identified might have more to do with differences in brain size than function. [Read the rest.]

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