Don’t Fall For Neuro-Nonsense about Gendered Brains

Don’t Fall For Neuro-Nonsense about Gendered Brains

Publication date: Feb 13, 2020

You’re not alone, studies have shown that even people with psychology training find it hard to distinguish credibility from quackery when results are accompanied by a brain image.

This week saw yet another press article arguing from the author’s personal experience that because her brothers liked maths and she preferred art, that girls are inherently biologically different and most likely don’t have the natural skills for careers in STEM.

She claims that the gender imbalanced prevalence rates of Tourette Syndrome are an indicator that women’s brains are different because apparently you -cannot misdiagnose Tourette’s. “

Confirmation Bias In Neuroscience As Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience Gina Rippon articulates in her book ‘The Gendered Brain’, neuroscience is an immature field that is still asking the wrong questions.

Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience, Gina Rippon, author of ‘The Gendered Brain’ Professor Gina Rippon The majority of neuroscience studies are based on small samples (because imaging studies are still very expensive to conduct) and they require visual interpretation and mapping.

The small differences between men’s and women’s fully mature brains are statistically significant and entirely expected, given the differences in our lives.

Professor Rippon notes that from the moment scientists started looking at brains, we’ve been collecting evidence to support our prejudices and reinforce the reliability of the cultural differences to which we abide.

I am not sure what purpose gender difference studies and articles serve other than to reassure the authors that their own experience is correct, it smacks of confirmation bias and it is bad science.

Don’t Fall For Neuro-Nonsense There’s no scientific evidence to support a workplace that awards people the top jobs in science, tech and finance on the basis of a social identity category.

As inclusive organizations rapidly poach the best young talent, it won’t be long before gender brain differences seem as silly as assessing intelligence by the bumps on your head.

Concepts Keywords
ADHD Imaging
Anxiety Academic disciplines
Atrophy Branches of biology
Autism Cognitive science
Brain Sexual dimorphism
Causality Gender studies
Confirmation Bias Gina Rippon
Correlation Tourette syndrome
Creative Writing Brain
Critical Thinking Priming
Deloitte Neuroscience
Eating Disorders
Gender Stereotypes
Getty Images
Goldman Sachs
John Stuart Mill
London Taxi
Social Identity
Spatial Reasoning
Stereotype Threat
Toronto Star
Tourette Syndrome
White Matter


Type Source Name
disease MESH anxiety
disease MESH eating disorders
disease MESH depression
drug DRUGBANK Aspartame
disease MESH visual
disease MESH men
disease MESH atrophy
disease MESH Tourette Syndrome
drug DRUGBANK Spinosad
drug DRUGBANK Tropicamide
disease MESH diagnosis
disease MESH autism

Original Article

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