What's New in Psychology - 2013

Gender on the Brain: The Science versus the Stereotypes

Speaker: Christia Brown
Date: Monday, March 25, 2013 at 6:30 p.m.   Seating is limited. Reservations required.
Location: Davis Marksbury Building


Men and women have many notable differences in their abilities and interests.  Often, it is assumed that these variations are the result of innate differences in the structure and functioning of boys' and girls' brains. Most of these assumptions, however, are based more on stereotypes than neuroscience. We will discuss what science actually shows about gender differences, how to interpret (and misinterpret) the brain science of gender differences, and how boys' and girls' different social experiences shape their brain development.  We will also explore how the misinterpretation of research on gender has influenced education.

Introduction to Gender and the Brain

This segment includes a description of why it is difficult to examine gender differences in people and what the implications are for getting it wrong. It also provides a primer for what people should know when evaluating research on gender.

What are actual gender differences?

This segment includes a discussion of actual gender differences. We examine 3 of the most common gender difference myths. This is followed by discussion of where true gender differences exist (in terms of biology, behavior, and psychology) and how these differences may vary based on context and experience.

Why does inaccurate focus on gender differences matter? Begin Q&A

The presentation concludes with consideration of why these stereotypes about gender differences matter. For example, by treating children differently, we can actually shape their brain development. Post presentation questions begin. Many questions address cultural vs. biological differences, and the growing trend in public schools of teaching boys and girls differently based on presumed (but inaccurate) learning differences. Several topics of the presentation are expanded upon through questions.

Questions and Discussions Continue

In the realm of learning, societal and cultural differences are vastly more important to address than the few true gender differences.

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