The Gendered Brain - Gina Rippon and myth shattering neuroscience

Science Friction


It's Natasha Mitchell here. With science friction with a question. Are you a two headed guerrilla? Now I ask this question. Because in eighteen seventy nine the founder of social psychology so an important guy right. The scientists gust of Lebron right these influential words in the most intelligent rices. There are a large number of women whose brains are closer in size to those of guerrillas them to the most developed mile. Brian's this inferiority is so obvious that no one can contest it for a moment. Only degree is worth discussion. Without a doubt there exists sump distinguish women very superior to the average man but they are as exceptional as the birth of any monstrosity as for example of a guerrilla with two heads. Consequently we may neglect them entirely. Well that was iding seventy nine but so it is today. Also it seems because cognitive neuroscientist Professor Jane Rippin from Aston University in Birmingham digs into the history of scientists efforts to pin sex differences on the brain in her light is book the Gender Brine the New Science that shatters the myth of the Female Brian. And just before Australia. Waiting to lockdown and boards closed. She join me on stage at the Sydney Opera House for this is all about women festival. Thank you very much everybody. My Life's work has really been looking at what makes brains different any brains different and in fact book started much more about the exploration of how brains to be different because I am an autism researcher. And there's a great thing in the autism community that if you've met one person with autism you've met one person with autism so we really thought we need to understand the variability. Everybody's brain is is different from everybody else's brain and in fact. I WANT TO CALL THE BOOK. Fifty shades of gray matter but publishers thought perhaps air. I needed to kind of tone down the brains of areas I was looking at a bit more Gravitas so the book is called the gendered brain. And it's really about how brains get to be different particularly with respect to whether they're male brains or they're female brains and actually it turns out once I got into the research and really investigating this given. Everybody knows that men's brains different from women's brains and that's why men behave different. Trim women and men are from Mars women from Venus? All of those wonderful sort of tropes that we've all come across so I went back and I had a look at the research. I thought let's really get into where these differences are can get a handle on how brains and different and I saw thinking I think time looking in the wrong place because I really can't find that much evidence and so eventually when I really gone through the research up brains and behavior. I came to the apparently startling conclusion that the differences between the sexes. A much smaller than we ever thought even with respect to brains so the question. Have you got a male brain or have you female brain? My answer was actually. I think a we're looking in the wrong place and be with probably asking the wrong question so I would say actually having come to that conclusion and our will warn you this in case you feel the need to leave. It wasn't universally accepted. I came across this really profound belief that we really have to acknowledge that scientists like me just you know get a life get out into the real world. You really don't know what's going on there. He comes conclusions like that and the kind of discussions. I was getting from the press when I was saying enthusiastically explaining the similarity between brains for example the Telegraph Telegraph in the UK. Quieter conservative newspaper. When Christina? Doni said this theory smacks of feminism with an equality fetish so. I love the idea that if you're interested equality some kind of perverse practice say this is the kind of response. I got to mind futuristic. My finding but this is my favorite full of carp which. I'm assuming this mistake anyway. So if anybody feels the need. This is dangerous information. They're about to hear time to go. But let's just move on this. Of course it is a very old question. Are Male brains different from female brains? But we need to remember that. This didn't used to be a question more than one hundred years ago when this research started when I started to realize that brains were in some some way the source of all the kind of human behavior we were interested in and even human places in society you found that the researchers at the time who strangely enough for male a distinctive view about what they were looking at they looked at the society. They looked to the status quo and they said women have an inferior place in society which they were actually right because they didn't have access to educational financial independence or political of power. So they said what we is. Brain. Scientists need to explain is the fact that women's brains are inferior so this was actually the beginning of what I call the hunt. The Difference Crusade where scientists were saying men's brains different women's brains. Let's why another coach from the two headed gorilla man. Lebron women represent the most inferior forms of human evolution and are closer to children and savages than to an adult civilized man. So if you kind of harbor ideas. This was allies objective scientific campaign to measure differences between two different groups of people lead to bear in mind. Some thoughts bit later on the idea. This complementarity trump being a bit rude saying that women are inferior. What we should say is that they have these wonderful skills. Which will of course complement those of men who are going to be ruling the world so we must start with the realization. That's as much as women want to be good scientists or engineers. They want first and foremost to be womanly companions of men and to be good

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