The truth about the female brain

Saloni Dattani in UnHerd:

“The so-called ‘female’ brain,” says Rippon, “has suffered centuries of being described as undersized, underdeveloped, evolutionarily inferior, poorly organised and generally defective.” Such assertions were, and still are, so widespread that Rippon admits feeling as though she’s playing “Whac-a-Mole”. She has barely disproved the newest study professing to demonstrate how men and women’s brains differ, when another is published.

Rippon’s opponents, whom she calls biological determinists, argue that we know sex differences in the brain are innate because they are evident even in young infants, before socialisation has had the opportunity to exert its influence. But according to Rippon, “the general consensus appears to be that, once variables such as birth weight and head size have been taken into account, there are very few, if any, structural sex differences in the brain at birth”.

She claims that the emergence of sex differences between boys and girls’ brains as they age is evidence for the role of brain plasticity and socialisation in shaping these differences – that is, if and when sex differences exist at all.

More here.