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Sex differences in the brain and the mind

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There are many differences between women and men in behavior and cognition. These include women’s more communal (formation of intimate relationships) and men’s more agentic (goal achievement) approach to life, as well as men’s advantage in spatial abilities and women’s advantage in memory for personal experiences (episodic memory). The current debates are centered on the origins of these biases, which range from socially imposed gender stereotypes to evolved biases. 

The last frontier of this research is the study of gender differences in brain functions and organization. It’s a controversial topic. The findings will ultimately resolve the question of the relative contributions to sex difference of biological and culture influences. The stakes in social and scientific policy are huge. The minimal sex difference in brain functions and organization would support the use policy interventions in order to reduce the sex gap in important social outcomes. A substantial biological contribution, on the contrary, would raise questions about the wisdom and effectiveness of such interventions. 

The European Union, for example, recently…



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