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Sexing the Brain 1st Edition

4.0 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0231120104
ISBN-10: 0231120109
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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

The question of free will versus predestination is an old one in theology. It is a commonplace of science as well, emerging in recent years in claims that human sexuality is an expression of biological inheritance alone, that sexual orientation is genetically encoded and thus immutable.

In this slender, provocative book, a volume in the series Maps of the Mind, neuroscientist Lesley Rogers examines the evidence for and against gene-deterministic views of sex differences, ranging from 19th-century attempts to prove that women are intellectually inferior because their brains, on average, weigh 10 percent less than men's ("There is no difference between the sexes," Rogers observes, "when brain weight is adjusted for body size") to more recent efforts to isolate a "gay gene." Such research, Rogers holds, fails to take into account cultural reasons for sex differences in brain function, which "are manifestations of social values held at a particular time." Among those values are an apparent educational segregation that produces boys with superior mathematical and spatial abilities and girls with superior verbal skills--a differentiation that has no proven biological basis, just as, Rogers argues, "sexual preference is not likely to depend on a single gene, a single neurotransmitter, or a single place in the brain." Rogers's book is certain not to be the last word on the subject, but those who consider nurture to be at least as important as nature in shaping the self will find fuel for their arguments in Rogers's antireductionist views. --Gregory McNamee

From Library Journal

Rogers, a professor of neuroscience and animal behavior at the University of New England (Australia), argues that the scientific basis for genetic explanations of sexual differentiation is shaky. She traces the history of thought regarding sexual differences, summarizes the latest techniques used to study such differences, and discusses factors that might account for sexual differentiation. While highly critical of simplistic explanations of sex differences in brain structure and function, Rogers urges scientists to develop well-controlled experiments that consider the complex set of social events that can affect behavior. Experience, the author believes, can alter the biology of the brain. An individual's development, moreover, is a complex interweaving of genetic, hormonal, and environmental processes. Rogers challenges claims for the existence of a "gay gene" and the ambiguous evidence pointing to sexual differences in brain lateralization. Her feminist perspective will undoubtedly raise hackles, especially when she suggests that politicians may use dubious scientific interpretation to justify social policies maintaining inequality. Appropriate for academic and large public libraries.DLaurie Bartolini, Illinois State Lib., Springfield
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Series: Maps of the Mind
  • Hardcover: 152 pages
  • Publisher: Columbia University Press; 1 edition (February 15, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0231120109
  • ISBN-13: 978-0231120104
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.5 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,100,982 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Uses the idea that science is biased to write a completely biased report. Nitpicking at scientific progress and picking the juiciest examples in history, the author substantiates her claims, without offering the full picture. The author comes across as well informed, but with the writing style of a undergraduate with a chip on her shoulder about both the biological perspective and feminism.

The reason I can't give this more than 2 stars is that it offers to give a balanced opinion at first glance, but is tainted by the author's own personal view throughout. This is misleading to any layreaders and damaging to progress in the scientific study of homosexuality and gender differences.

The biological approach is not the "holy grail" of psychology and does need kept in check, as history has proven time and time again... But this book is not the one to do it.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Lesley Rogers explores the idea of the relationship of sex, gender and related topics and their connection with the brain. She explores the connection between genes, hormones, sex and behaviour and the way in which their connect and influence each other in both directions. In examining this issue Rogers contends with the research and how they are interpreted based on dominant ideas within society.
It is fairly accessible for the general reader and provides a good foundation for the understanding the relationship between genes and behaviour as well as between science and societal biases.
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Format: Hardcover
While scientific investigation is supposed to be dispassionate, in reality science's claims about sex and gender differences have more reflected cultural standards than objective research: that's the contention of Lesley Rogers' Sexing The Brain which shows how the interplay between culture, environment and behavior contributes to gender trends. Sex biasing errors are surveyed, with studies backing her probe.
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Format: Paperback
This is an excellent book for anyone that has ever wondered whether there really is any difference between the sexes when it comes to mental capacity and mental processes.

The authors willingness to examine the research, data, and methodologies that sit behind the headlines is excellent. Also the links she draws between cultural belief and research methodologies is also insightful.

If you want to win sexist arguments, this book should be in your armoury.
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