Brain Storm: The Flaws in the Science of Sex Differences
Dr. Rebecca Jordan-Young
Assistant Professor of Women’s Studies, Barnard College
Lecture and book launch
Monday, November 1st
7:00pm – 9:00pm
Simon Fraser University Harbour Centre, Segal Rooms 1400-1410
515 West Hastings Street, Vancouver
Professor Jordan-Young’s book talk will take place from 7:00-8:00p.m, followed by a reception and book signing from 8:00–9:00p.m.
SFU Institute for Critical Studies in Gender and Health
CIHR Institute of Gender and Health
UBC Critical Studies in Sexuality
UBC Centre for Cross-Faculty Inquiry in Education
Female and male brains are different, thanks to hormones coursing through the brain before birth. That’s taught as fact in psychology textbooks, academic journals, and bestselling books. And these hardwired differences explain everything from sexual orientation to gender identity, to why there aren’t more women physicists or more stay-at-home dads.
In her compelling book, Rebecca Jordan-Young takes on the evidence that sex differences are hardwired into the brain. Analyzing virtually all published research that supports the claims of “human brain organization theory,” Jordan-Young reveals how often these studies fail the standards of science. Even if careful researchers point out the limits of their own studies, other researchers and journalists can easily ignore them because brain organization theory just sounds so right. But if a series of methodological weaknesses, questionable assumptions, inconsistent definitions, and enormous gaps between ambiguous findings and grand conclusions have accumulated through the years, then science isn’t scientific at all.
Elegantly written, this book argues passionately that the analysis of gender differences deserves far more rigorous, biologically sophisticated science. “The evidence for hormonal sex differentiation of the human brain better resembles a hodge-podge pile than a solid structure. Once we have cleared the rubble, we can begin to build newer, more scientific stories about human development.”