top of page
PRESENTATION / TALKS
Is the Brain Gendered?: The Debate
What's inside a black hole? Is consciousness something we can measure? Where did life itself come from? How To Academy Science is a new channel from How To Academy. Subscribe today: http://www.youtube.com/channel/UC3cHvU3uO2ZSRE4ExlS0MGg?sub_confirmation=1 The idea that male and female brains are ‘essentially’ different is one of the most controversial and contested in science, with potentially far-reaching consequences for the future of medicine and mental health treatment, the workplace and society as a whole. In this debate, two leaders of their field go head-to-head to debate the evidence for and against the existence of sex differences in the mind and the brain. We sift fact from conjecture, science from nonsense, and explore the ramifications for education, employment, relationships, psychiatry, and how we identify ourselves. It’s time to accept that brains should not be ‘sexed’, says Gina Rippon. It’s misleading to attribute any differences in behaviour, abilities, achievements, or personality to the possession of either a female brain or a male brain. And she argues that new techniques can prove it. After centuries of ingrained neurosexism, neuroscience’s cutting-edge breakthroughs should at last liberate us from outdated misunderstandings of what our brains can and cannot do. Psychologist Simon Baron-Cohen takes a different perspective. Whilst he agrees that individuals’ brains should not and cannot be ‘sexed’, he reminds us that group studies of males and females do reveal differences on average: men on average are better at analysing systems and women on average are better at empathising with people. And he marshals evidence from studies of prenatal hormones and genetics that these traits have both biological and cultural roots. In addition, Simon Baron-Cohen doesn’t just study average sex differences for the sake of it: he does so to understand autism, a neurological condition that affects three times as many boys as girls, and which he argues is an extreme version of the typical male brain. Simon Baron-Cohen and Gina Rippon agree on their moral perspective: they both want a society free of discrimination on the basis of gender (or ethnicity, or disability). And they agree that pseudoscience is dangerous: men are not from Mars, or women from Venus. But they disagree on two key points: whether essential differences between males and females are part of human nature; and whether or not these should be ignored.
Fighting the Neurotrash: is there such a thing as the 'male' and 'female' brain?
Women are better at empathising; men are better at reading maps. That's because their brains are different, isn't it? Can stereotypes such as these actually change how brains work and make 'gender neuromyths' come true? Neuroscientist Gina Rippon wades through the 'Mars and Venus' neurotrash to give us the lowdown on whether there is any such thing as a 'female' or a 'male' brain. Chaired by Chi Onwurah MP.
How Men and Women Think | Helena Cronin, Gina Rippon, Simon Baron-Cohen
Watch the debate in full at https://iai.tv/video/how-men-and-women-think?utm_source=YouTube&utm_medium=description Are mental differences between the sexes real, or is this just sexism dressed up as science? Cambridge psychologist Simon Baron-Cohen, Darwinian philosopher Helena Cronin and eminent neuroscientist Gina Rippon debate how men and women think. Gina Rippon is professor of cognitive neuroimaging at the Aston Brain Centre, Aston University, Birmingham. Rippon has also sat on the editorial board of the International Journal of Psychophysiology. She is author of many books of cognitive neuroscience, including her latest book, Gender and our Brains (2019). Helena Cronin is a British Darwinian philosopher and rationalist. She is the co-director of the Centre for Philosophy of Natural and Social Science and the Darwin Centre at the London School of Economics. Simon Baron-Cohen is a British clinical psychologist and professor of developmental psychopathology at the University of Cambridge. He is the Director of the University's Autism Research Centre and a Fellow of Trinity College. He is author of The Essential Difference, The Science of Evil and Zero Degrees of Empathy. #neuroscience #men #women Visit IAI.tv for our full library of debates, talks, articles and podcasts from international thought leaders and world-class academics. The Institute of Art and Ideas features videos and articles from cutting edge thinkers discussing the ideas that are shaping the world, from metaphysics to string theory, technology to democracy, aesthetics to genetics. For debates and talks: https://iai.tv For articles: https://iai.tv/articles For courses: https://iai.tv/iai-academy/courses
DOP 2016: The trouble with girls? - Professor Gina Rippon
The trouble with girls?: Why plastic brains aren’t breaking through glass ceilings Professor Gina Rippon, Aston University There is a long history of debate about biological sex differences and their part in determining gender roles, with the ‘biology is destiny’ mantra being used to legitimise imbalances in these roles. The tradition is continuing, with new brain imaging techniques being hailed as sources of evidence of the ‘essential’ differences between men and women, and the concept of ‘hardwiring’ sneaking into popular parlance as a brain-based explanation for all kinds of gender issues. This includes the failure of numerous well-meaning initiatives attempting to address the marked gender imbalances in many areas of society, including industry, business, politics and science. There are assumptions (not always unspoken) that women don’t succeed in such spheres because they can’t, with rather patronising (sic) references to ‘complementarity ‘, ‘vulnerability’ and ‘the natural order of things’. This talk outlines a model demonstrating how there is indeed a ‘brain problem’. Existing gender stereotypes can and do (mis) construct brain function and even structure, with negative consequences on the education, expectations and achievements of women. But it also highlights the possibilities offered by a greater understanding of how plastic and permeable our brains are, how we can build internal and external defences against “toxic stereotypes” and how the concept of ‘hard-wiring’ can be condemned to the dustbin of neurohistory.
Imag(in)ing Sex in the Brain - Gina Rippon
Gina Rippon, Professor and Chair of Cognitive Neuroimaging at the Aston Brain Centre at Aston University, speaks at the Imag(in)ing Sex in the Brain seminar. At this event, feminist scholars from neuroscience, philosophy, and cultural & media studies discuss how sex/gender gets into brain images, and what we can (and can’t) get out of such images. Imag(in)ing Sex in the Brain was held on March 21, 2016. This event was sponsored by the Center for Science and Society and the Department of Women’s, Gender & Sexuality Studies at Barnard College. Visit the event webpage for more information: https://tinyurl.com/yr2743n9 Sign up for our newsletter to hear about future events: https://tinyurl.com/4exc9nf9
How Neurononsense Keeps Women in Their Place - with Gina Rippon
Have new brain imaging techniques really revealed that women and men are ‘hardwired’ for their gender roles? Or has neuroscience become misappropriated to justify gender gaps? Professor of cognitive neuroimaging Gina Rippon investigates. Subscribe for weekly science videos: http://bit.ly/RiSubscRibe Watch the Q&A: https://youtu.be/1swI97JbuUA You can buy Gina's book "The Gendered Brain" now - https://geni.us/EHzSGx There is a long history of debate about biological sex differences and their part in determining gender roles, with the ‘biology is destiny’ mantra being used to legitimise imbalances in these roles. The tradition is continuing, with new brain imaging techniques being hailed as sources of evidence of the ‘essential’ differences between men and women, and the concept of ‘hardwiring’ sneaking into popular parlance as a brain-based explanation for all kinds of gender gaps. But the field is littered with many problems. Some are the product of ill-informed popular science writing (neurotrash) based on the misunderstanding or misrepresentation of what brain imaging can tell us. Some, unfortunately involve poor science, with scientists using outdated and disproved stereotypes to design and interpret their research (neurosexism). These problems obscure or ignore the ‘neuronews’, the breakthroughs in our understanding of how plastic and permeable our brains are, and how the concept of ‘hard-wiring’ should be condemned to the dustbin of neurohistory. This talk aims to offer ways of rooting out the neurotrash, stamping out the neurosexism and making way for neuronews. Gina Rippon is Professor of Cognitive Neuroimaging at Aston University. Her research involves the application of brain imaging techniques, particularly electroencephalography, (EEG) and magnetoencephalography (MEG), to studies of normal and abnormal cognitive processes. The Ri is on Twitter: http://twitter.com/ri_science and Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/royalinstitution and Tumblr: http://ri-science.tumblr.com/ Our editorial policy: http://www.rigb.org/home/editorial-policy Subscribe for the latest science videos: http://bit.ly/RiNewsletter Product links on this page may be affiliate links which means it won't cost you any extra but we may earn a small commission if you decide to purchase through the link.
bottom of page