Sunday, February 20, 2011

Pink Brain, Blue Brain by Lise Eliot

In this masterful book, Lise Eliot looks at a tremendous amount of studies that compare boys and girls in an effort to determine whether there really is a biological difference that contributes to gender or if it's nature.  Dr. Eliot says that it may be a little of both - there are miniscule biological differences between boys and girls at birth that form our core assumptions.  Our assumptions are then projected onto our sons and daughters, thereby solidifying the differences and creating a self fulfilling prophecy - in essence, while there may be a biological difference in why boys are better at spatial projections than girls, our assumptions that girls are worse at it than boys makes those differences wider, which is a shame because Dr. Eliot believes that those gaps can be closed with socialization in the opposite direction.  After clearly explaining the scientific research conducted in areas such as the role that testoterone plays in development while in utero and why boys lag behind in verbal and language skills, Dr. Eliot provides the readers with a list of things that they can do to ensure that their children close the gaps that exist.

I really enjoyed this book because it seems that everyone that was anyone seems to believe that the biological differences are actually bigger than they are. Dr. Eliot eloquently and thoroughly debunks these theories and lays out exactly why those theories are incorrect (for instance, sometimes information is left out or the experiment's results haven't been replicated). I also really appreciated that Eliot put in ideas at te end of each chapter that would enable parents to attempt to use nurture to counteract the other gender stereotypes that our children are exposed to. 

Very good book!

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