Decrying ‘neurosexism’: Are attempts to find biological gender differences justified?

male vs female brain

“Neurosexism,” “populist science,” “neurotrash,” the problem with using terms like these to describe scientific investigations of sex differences is that their use may be interpreted as hostile.

In a recent op-ed for The Guardian, Cordelia Fine—the author who coined the term “neurosexism”—together with Rebecca Jordan-Young, argue that they have never been prima facie opposed to sex differences research. Their only concern is that of scientific rigour.

[In a 2013 study, the authors] made speculations about what kinds of behaviors these structural differences might be related to. For example, in men, these differences translate to more efficient coordination between perception and action; in women, they facilitate better communication between analytical and spatial processing. It was this speculation which attracted the ire of Fine. It was “subtly neurosexist,” she said “[in] reinforcing and legitimating gender stereotypes in ways that are not scientifically justified.”

Despite Fine’s protestations, this study is not pseudoscience. It has been cited 342 times since its publication and its results are indeed a reflection of the thousands of other research studies supporting sex differences in the brain and resulting behavior.

 

The GLP aggregated and excerpted this blog/article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion, and analysis. Read full, original post: The Rhetorical Trap at the Heart of the “Neurosexism” Debate

For more background on the Genetic Literacy Project, read GLP on Wikipedia

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