Guess what girls? Men are from Venus too!

Forget the theory that men are from Mars and women from Venus – our brains are the same, an expert insists. Neuroscientist Professor Gina Rippon says the sexes are not ‘hardwired’ in different ways and there is no evidence that men are innately better at reading maps or that women are better at multi-tasking.


Any difference is due to society’s idea of gender, not to biology, and is deterring a generation of women from becoming scientists, she warns.  Professor Rippon, of Aston University, Birmingham, said differences in the brain are formed in childhood by divisions in the games girls and boys play and stereotypes they conform to. The scientist said the human brain is much more malleable than we think.

She highlighted recent research which showed that women given a Tetris console game to play for three months displayed fundamental changes in their brain structure.

The Californian study found that women who regularly played the game – which involves manipulating shapes in a logical way – had grown part of their brain associated with spatial skills.
It showed that the brain changes far more regularly than we think and is affected by stereotypes and attitudes – nurture not nature – all the way through life, she said.
‘If you just look at gender differences – and not their experiences in life – then, yes, you might find differences. But the brains of men and women are much more similar than they are different.’

Professor Rippon, who will address the British Science Festival in Birmingham on Sunday, added: ‘We really cannot afford to sit back and accept the “essentialist” view that girls are not going to be interested in science subjects because of some “brain deficiency”.
‘We need more trained scientists and engineers but 50 per cent of our pool of talent is not engaging. ‘People who could study these subjects or do these jobs are choosing not to.
‘This must not be explained away by misguided and misleading explanations in terms of unchangeable biological characteristics, or references to “the natural order of things”.’

Her views – for which she has been labelled a ‘gender difference denier’ – are contradicted by a prominent study published last year. The study, in which the brains of 949 young men and women were scanned at the University of Pennsylvania, suggested that women had better connections between the left and right-hand sides of the brain, while men had better links between the front and back. The authors claimed their findings demonstrated that women are better disposed to deal with ‘analytical’ and ‘intuitive’ tasks at the same time. Men, meanwhile, were better at complex motor skills, they said.

Professor Rippon dismissed the study as having neglected the idea that these changes were caused by nurture – not nature – and said there is no such thing as a ‘hardwired’ brain. ‘There is quite a lot of thoughtless science being done and quite a lot of overenthusiastic presenting. If you just look at gender differences – and not their experiences in life – then yes you might find differences. ‘But the brains of men and women are much more similar than they are different.’

Well, well, well, this should screw up some more psychological theories……………..

 Original Source”Mailonline

This entry was posted in Education, Equality, Health and Wellbeing, Humour, Psychology and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Guess what girls? Men are from Venus too!

  1. Biz Psycho says:

    John Gray has made a mint out of his popular books although scientists, including psychologists, have known for a while that the Mars/Venus distinction doesn’t apply universally. However there are reliable studies which show that men’s brains are wired up differently from women’s Problem is sexual politics comes into it. btw Deborah Tannen is worth reading on this subject


  2. khendradm says:

    Wow. I JUST wrote an article on these very topics. The influence of testosterone and estrogen should also be addressed when considering these topics, and to not do so is to overlook critical evidence that strongly work against Professor Rippon’s argument.

    With that in mind, I am not quite in agreement with the main thesis of Professor Rippon. You told another commenter that she is in the neuroscience field, so her opinion is more valid than those who aren’t directly in the field, but for the record, not all neuroscientists agree with her, so you’ll have to give better arguments than that – namely, arguments that thoroughly discredit based on the evidence presented, particularly estrogen and testosterone’s relation to spatial function, gray matter in the parietal lobes, etc.

    While I do think that, yes, men’s and women’s brains have more similarities than differences, I don’t think that we can ascribe any differences to culture only. There are too many studies strongly suggesting otherwise. Even in that Tetris example cited, it only states that the brain areas grew for the girls – it doesn’t say that they grew as proficiently as the boys.

    At any rate, whatever the opinions, it’s nice to see people addressing these things, at least!


  3. kindadukish says:

    Thank you for responding to my blog, I hope you found it interesting. Just to address a few of your comments:-
    You say that “and to not do so is to overlook critical evidence that strongly work against Professor Rippon’s argument”, the key phrase here is “strongly work against” but does not mean it disproves Professor Rippons argument.
    My comment about her being a Neuroscientist was to merely highlight that within any “professional field” there are always disagreements about theories and this is whhat is illustrated here.
    As I am neither a scientist nor psychologist, I am unable to comment on the scientific argument as I do not have the appropriate knowledge.
    The purpose of my blog was to simply highlight that whatever one group of scientists comes up with, another group will usually contradict that group………note how many scientific scares about eat this, dont eat that and then a little later this is contradicted.
    For what its worth (and I am the father of a daughter who is professional Lawyer) I am inclined to go with the nurture theory, yes there may be slight differences between male / females but I dont buy the theory it is prescribed at birth based on gender.
    But good luck with your studies and do remember “todays fact is tomorrows discredited idea”…..but isnt that what science is about, challenge, test out, revise.


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