Pink Brain, Blue Brain: How Small Differences Grow into Troublesome Gaps — and What We Can Do About It

Pink Brain Blue Brain How Small Differences Grow into Troublesome Gaps and What We Can Do About It In the past decade we ve heard a lot about the innate differences between males and females As a result we ve come to accept that boys can t focus in a classroom and girls are obsessed with relation

  • Title: Pink Brain, Blue Brain: How Small Differences Grow into Troublesome Gaps — and What We Can Do About It
  • Author: Lise Eliot
  • ISBN: 9780618393114
  • Page: 356
  • Format: Hardcover
  • In the past decade, we ve heard a lot about the innate differences between males and females As a result, we ve come to accept that boys can t focus in a classroom and girls are obsessed with relationships That s just the way they re built In Pink Brain Blue Brain, neuroscientist Lise Eliot turns that thinking on its head Based on years of exhaustive research and her oIn the past decade, we ve heard a lot about the innate differences between males and females As a result, we ve come to accept that boys can t focus in a classroom and girls are obsessed with relationships That s just the way they re built In Pink Brain Blue Brain, neuroscientist Lise Eliot turns that thinking on its head Based on years of exhaustive research and her own work in the new field of plasticity, Eliot argues that infant brains are so malleable that a few small differences at birth become amplified over time, as parents and teachers and the culture at large unwittingly reinforce gender stereotypes Perhaps surprisingly, children themselves exacerbate the differences, by playing to their modest strengths They constantly exercise those ball throwing or doll cuddling circuits, rarely straying from their comfort zones But this, says Eliot, is just what they need to do And parents can help, if they know how and when to intervene Presenting the latest science at every developmental stage, from birth to puberty, she zeroes in on the precise differences between boys and girls, erasing harmful stereotypes Boys are not, in fact, better at math but at certain kinds of spatial reasoning Girls are not naturally empathetic, they re just encouraged to express their feelings By appreciating how sex differences emerge rather than assuming them to be fixed biological facts we can help all children reach their fullest potential, close the troubling gaps between boys and girls, and ultimately end the gender wars that currently divide us.

    One thought on “Pink Brain, Blue Brain: How Small Differences Grow into Troublesome Gaps — and What We Can Do About It”

    1. This was one of several books I picked up after I decided that I was just getting too uncomfortable with the discussion about boys and girls innate differences. Discovering feminism in the 80s, for me feminism was in large part defined by the idea that girls could do everything that boys could. Over the last 30 years, it felt insidiously as if the nature vs nuture debate pendulum had swung back in the opposite direction.Of the books I picked up, this was easily, easily my favourite. I wish I cou [...]

    2. I have mixed feelings about this book:PRO:*The author knows her science and presents facts in a very levelheaded way. Sources are fastidiously documented in a nearly 100 page appendix.*The author discusses both boys and girls, the sexist views our society holds and how those views effects their development*The author offers suggestions for helping children nurture talents that may not be their preferred way of behavingCONS:*The author rarely shows any engagement with the subject and the brief mo [...]

    3. I was deeply disappointed by this book. Repeatedly, the author tells us that some difference between girls and boys is insignificant compared to variation within each group -- then goes on to discuss at length how parents and teachers should accommodate these important differences. WTF? If the differences are that small, then parents of boys do not, in fact, need to talk to them more in order to make up for their naturally poorer language skills (for example). I fail to see how encouraging this [...]

    4. I started to read this, but decided to quit early on. The writer's lazy conflation of sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, and phenotype was bad enough, but claiming that babies with ambiguous genitalia should, by default, be given surgery to create male genitals and raised as male was the last straw. That is a terrible idea. The author is very clear about being a fan of traditional gender roles and treating boys and girls completely differently even though, as she admits, the [...]

    5. Ever since I've been in college, I've been studying, reading about and challenging others about gender stereotypes, perceived and biological gender differences, and alternatives to traditional gender roles. Now that I am going to embark on the awesome journey of raising a child, I'm happy to have come across Lise Eliot's thoughtful and well-argued book, Pink Brain, Blue Brain. It gave me an opportunity, now three months before my baby's birth, to review and potentially revise some of my stances [...]

    6. I was really excited about this one, but I cannot go further. The book (or I should say the writer) is extremely gender essentialist and it just rubs me the wrong way. A lot of swooping generalizations and no conversation about gender that is significant. I love science but I don't like science meddling with gender. Why? Because gender is socially constructed. This is my opinion, though. As a feminist who believes that gender doesn't just include FEMALE or MALE, I just had to put it down. What r [...]

    7. As the mother of three sons, I've always been interested in learning more about what is hardwired into males and females, and what is influenced by environment. So when I heard about this book, I immediately put it on hold at the library. Eliot is a neuroscientist, a graduate from Harvard and Columbia, an associate professor of neuroscience, and mother of two sons and a daughter. The basic premise of the book is that although yes, males and females have biologically based differences, many of ou [...]

    8. Abbreviated review - full review appears on .ComLise Eliot's book focuses primarily on the slight differences between male and female brains in prenatal fetuses and in infants, and how those differences may grow over time through cultural influences. She distinguishes between the effects of hormones, developmental differences, and cultural expectations and impacts. What is particularly notable is that she never makes a statement without listing an associated study. In fact, she takes apart commo [...]

    9. Eliot takes a much debated issue - are girls and boys fundamentally different? - and sets out with a well restrained heart. Eliot painstakingly goes thru all available scientific research and popular culture books to sort out the truth. Are men from Mars and women from Venus? In a nutshell, no.What Eliot does is walk us thru the research, data and the facts about the differences. I say painstakingly because this 315 page tome has almost 40 pages of endnotes and 45 pages of bibliography and zero [...]

    10. Pink Brain, Blue Brain is a thorough investigation into gender differences by neuroscientist Lise Eliot. With a nuanced and scientific perspective, she delves into all the major cognitive gender differences observed in children and adults and explores the source of these differences. Initial chapters focus first on babies, then toddlers, then preschoolers and older, and later chapters address verbal differences, math differences, and emotional/interpersonal differences. The major concept that th [...]

    11. (This is my review and it was originally posted on Elevate Difference).Given the heavy media coverage about studies that “prove” significant, inborn differences between males and females, it is no surprise that we excuse or accept certain behaviors depending on whether they come from a boy or a girl. We are often led to believe that it is natural for a boy to be athletic and for a girl to demonstrate more empathy because it is part of their biology and something that cannot be helped one way [...]

    12. The book was very informative but I found it slow through the "brain talk". Mind you I know this was written by a neuroscience professional and not a psychologist. I only discovered that after already starting the book. I was expecting it to be more case studies, less science, so it was my fault for not reading about the author beforehand.Regardless, she made interesting points that can be used by educators and parents. Of course, you probably should read the book as you prepare to have children [...]

    13. This book could have been so great. I was really excited about reading this, at first. I was like "yeaaah, brain plasticity!! :D i'm so excited about learning more about that!! let's destroy neurosexism!!" And then the author missed so many great opportunities. I feel like she had good intentions when writing this, really. I feel like she actually wanted to debunk a lot of gender stereotypes that are very present in our society. But in the end, she does spend a lot of time reinforcing the stereo [...]

    14. This careful yet very readable examination of scientific research on brain differences between the sexes -- prenatal, infant, childhood, teen -- is an antidote to media hype about vast, obvious differences. A brain scientist, the author details the biological differences (or lack of difference) revealed by current research and suggests strategies for parents and teachers to help children of both sexes reach their full potentials. She points out that much research on sex differences in male/femal [...]

    15. This book was great. It does away with many old myths and presumptions about boys and girls. Here are 9 things I will never forget after reading this book. #1 The corpus callosum is the same in both sexes. #2 There is a "first puberty" at 3 months. #3 soy formula is banned in the UK. #4 pushing more writing ability in Kindergarten doesn't necessarily benefit boys because of their slower rate to develop fine motor skills. #5 most elementary school teachers are female, which can have all kinds of [...]

    16. Eliot offers a good rebuttal to Sax, but still falls short of really challenging the way we think about gender. She is very essentialist and normalizing, just like Sax, in her distinctions between boys and girls. I'm very against using "science" to "prove" differences between gender. Science can only prove sexual differences, not gender. Sex is biological; gender is much more complicated. She does not offer any insight into the influences of race, culture, socioeconomic backgrounds, sexuality (w [...]

    17. A lot of very interesting research, well presented, in a topic that I care about a lot. Of course, the fact that a lot of research concluded that there are no measurable differences in the brains of boys and girls make for some underwhelming results at times, but it forces a very interesting reflexion on how society/culture/nurture/etc. is the thing to "blame" for differences between boys and girls. I found the beginning very drab (in general I like more anecdotes or metaphors in my non-fiction) [...]

    18. I think that this book is an important one. Eliot shows how gender differences occur naturally and become stronger through nurture. Since young children are strongly influenced by their gender identity and tend to self-segregate, it's up to parents to strongly nudge them toward "opposite gender" toys and activities. A typical girl spends hundreds of hours in the preschool years playing mommy in her toy kitchen or painting at an easel--so she will grow stronger in verbal, empathetic, and fine mot [...]

    19. I really enjoyed reading this book up until the minutes I stopped reading it. It was indformative, and well written, and had actual tips and things to do to help your child. I loved it. But the second I stopped reading it, I stopped thinking about it. I want to finish it, but I haven't the inclination. To the try-again-later shelf you go, Pink Brain, Blue Brain!

    20. I'm just gonna go ahead and rate this 5 stars right now, even though I'm only halfway through. This book is totally informative, gives all kinds of evidence to back up claims, and makes me think! Should be a must-read for every parent, teacher, guardian, etc.

    21. Determined to figure out how much of my toddlers’ divergent behavior is based upon innate gender difference, I read Cordelia Fine’s Delusions of Gender and the first 100 pages of Lise Eliot’s Pink Brain, Blue Brain (the introduction and chapters covering prenatal development and infancy, since both authors agree that these periods are key to determining whether only nurture is to blame for pre-pubertal differences between boys and girls). Though the two writers agree on just about every sc [...]

    22. "Spatial skills are more like nipples than like antlers.". This quote alone should be sufficient recommendation for this book. Truly, this book does an amazing job of discussing the most current brain studies on sex differences in children, up through adulthood. Primarily that there are few established differences that come from biology, and that boys and girls are more influenced by their environment than by any significant difference in brain structure. Dr. Eliot gives concrete examples of how [...]

    23. Great message, but I ended up skimming a lot of her summaries of studies. Message: the brain is highly malleable and learns lessons based on usage--meaning that cultural norms tend to become ingrained in gendered behavior.

    24. I'm not sure what I was expecting to learn but this wasn't it! Much of the content surprised me. A good read. 3.75 stars

    25. Why deny innate gender differences? Why not admit that it's all biological? Because such thinking is socially lazy, bordering on the irresponsible. History and geography prove that societies vary and change greatly - constantly - throughout time and space, yet a mainstream narrative finds it much more important and interesting to examine our biologies for the reasons for gender differences. The pop science journalists of Newsweek and The New York Times regularly tout the experiments that provide [...]

    26. As I decided to read this book, based on a review from good reads, I began with a discomfort with the title of the book. But I was pleasantly surprised at how the author, Lise Eliot emphasized how the 'differences' were not always apparent genetically but were rather reinforced by the environment in which children grew up. Throughout the book, the author continues to grapple with the nature versus nature debate. She refers to a number of studies to suggest the genetic differences, if any. Since [...]

    27. People are always interested in the differences between males and females. And, unfortunately, stereotypes sell better. "Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus", which Eliot referred in this book, is a very good example. I've read that book, too. While it was highly entertaining, I was not convinced. Because males in Japan behave very differently from American counterparts. I thought cultural difference was greater than gender difference. Lise Eliot's thoughtful approach "Pink Brain Blue Brain" [...]

    28. So while I was pregnant with Baby #2 (a boy), people kept sqealing at me (as they do), "What are you having?!"And I would say, "A boy, omigod, I don't even know what to do about it." ("It" being: Everything boy-related. Because Baby #1 is a girl.)My very wise friend Keri said, "The same thing you did with the first."I think my jaw literally dropped. It's strange. Having a girl, being a feminist, I was all, "Rahrahrah, I will raise my girl to know that she can be anything she wants to be! She is [...]

    29. Very interesting. Verrrry interesting.In a nutshell --The neurophysical and cognitive differences in young males and females are surprisingly, negligibly small. Dr. Eliot makes more of those small differences than they often warrant, but to be fair it seems she usually does so because more is made of them than is warranted. (Make sense? It did sometimes seem circularly backward.)The book is full of studies. Tons of 'em. It's takes work to sort them all out, and it's very easy to get lost in the [...]

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