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The Gendered Brain: The New Neuroscience That Shatters the Myth of the Female Brain

3.95  ·  Rating details ·  283 ratings  ·  52 reviews
'A treasure trove of information and good humour' CORDELIA FINE, author of Testosterone Rex

Do you have a female brain or a male brain?
Or is that the wrong question?

Reading maps or reading emotions? Barbie or Lego? We live in a gendered world where we are bombarded with messages about sex and gender. On a daily basis we face deeply ingrained beliefs that your sex
Paperback, 448 pages
Published February 28th 2019 by Bodley Head
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Average rating 3.95  · 
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Emer (A Little Haze)
This book is giving me life. It's bashing the patriarchy and associated troubling gendered stereotypes with science, fact, research AND I AM HERE FOR IT LIKE YAAAAAAAASSSSS!!!!!

This review that appeared in Nature describes it far better than I can.
Mar 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
"Brains reflect the lives they have lived, not just the sex of their owners." Scientists have long tried to prove that men and women are inherently different because we have biologically different brains. The author reviews both the history and current-state research on sex differences, mainly in the field of neuroscience – the author's field of expertise – but also endocrinology and psychology. What we are now learning is that our brains are more plastic than previously thought and are ...more
Apr 26, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"It is clear that understanding the social brain could offer us a hugely effective lens to investigate how a gendered world can produce a gendered brain, how gender stereotypes are a very real brain-based threat that can divert brains from the endpoint they deserve."

This book is chock-full of information and analysis, covering broad ground in examining the current state of neuroscientific research, and the reporting of it, regarding gender and sex differences in the brain. I found the
Apr 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, read-it
"Stereotypes could be straitjackening our flexible, plastic brains. So, yes, challenging them does matter." – Gina Rippon

Gina Rippon is a neuroscientist and wants to debunk the myth of the „female brain“ with her book. She wants to make people aware of what neurosexism is and how it developed, why we should check sources of information better and what neurotrash is (books like „Why Men Don't Listen and Women Can't Read Maps“). She points out, how some of the „evidences“ that female/male brains
Mar 30, 2019 rated it did not like it
In terms of how well it's written, this one star is obviously far too harsh. However, this book does not represent the science of the field with accuracy. An article that argues such better than I could:

'A book like this is very difficult for someone knowledgeable about the field to review seriously. It is so chock-full of bias that one keeps wondering why one is bothering with it.'
Jul 03, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A fascinating account of current developments in neuroscience. Quite persuasive and a corrective to much neurononsense.

However, I couldn’t help feeling that the author was doing precisely what she was accusing others of doing, namely bigging up anything that supported her thesis whilst, at the same time, diminishing or dismissing anything that counted against it. We were often told that a finding that went the other way couldn’t be replicated or had recently been challenged but we were never
Jun 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is a tough one to rate for me because, whilst whole heartedly agreeing with it's message and outlook, I didn't realise that's what it was getting at for the majority of the book.

It got off to a bad start when in the introduction it says that because, traditionally, the default pronoun to refer to someone of indeterminate gender (in a study for example) had always been he or s/he at best, then the author was going to redress the balance by using she where possible. When there's perfectly
Apr 29, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A must-read for anyone living in a gendered world aka 21st century Earth. It's a book every parent, guardian and teacher should read as we are doing more harm than good gendering children at such early ages (by three years old, a child has usually confirmed their gender). I also loved how Gina proves children are the biggest 'gender police,' as it is so important for them to know, especially for navigating school and the playground. For children, performing gender is like self-survival. Also, ...more
Apr 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Mar 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Well that was Illuminating
May 26, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Gina Rippon provides a cool-headed analysis of the neurosexism, junk science, media distortions and wobbly statistics that bedevil the endless search for the differences between the sexes. What do men like? What are girls good at? The answer is, it depends who you ask, how you ask them and who they are. The other answer is, men are women are far more alike than they are different and that’s just fine. This book is dense with discussion of experiments, neuroimaging and statistical analyses and it ...more
May 02, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook, parenting
**based on the audiobook** The level to which you're going to appreciate this book depends, I think, with the mindset you take to it. If you're already convinced that gender is a spectrum instead of a dichotomy, this book will spend (too?) much time on fighting your adversaries (aptly called 'neurononsense'). When in doubt, though, or in need of solid counterarguments, or just in search of a wrap-up on the latest hard facts about the (lack of) binary gender proof in brains, this will be your ...more
Apr 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
This was really interesting! Rippon confirms what I already suspected: that society has become much more polarized when it comes to gender since I myself became a mother in the 1990's. This is very important research and although I am not a natural scientist myself (and I found it difficult to follow some of the more brain-specific passages) I strongly believe this should be compulsory reading for young parents!
Jun 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Oh, to be able to cull through research, make sense of it all, pull together the themes and the best practices and the drivel, and with a touch of humor and a ton of fantastic writing, turn it into a beach read (um, caveat that I also read War and Peace on the beaches of Malta one summer; everything closed at 1 PM so we could only really work on our research projects in the mornings...)

Bottom line? Instead of a binary notion of brain differences, the differences exist along continuum’s with
Payel Kundu
This book asks the question, are male and female brains different? It’s written as a reaction to the widely held premise (in both science and popular media) that they are in fact different, and I think that should be kept in mind when reading this book. This book is pretty long and thorough, and spends a lot of time critiquing some of the most often-cited studies in neuroscience that support the idea of sex differences between male and female brains and especially arguments that these have their ...more
Oct 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Excellent review on neuroscience research from its very beginnings. The author provides an incredibly complete collection of studies from the 20th century to date, while keeping it fun and interesting. Even though the focus is on the science of the brain and gender relationship, it is highly relevant for anyone working on (or simply interested in) topics that relate to brain processes, like language. Not only touches upon many different misconceptions about the brain but it also offers a ...more
Edward Sullivan
A fascinating, engaging look at how findings in neuroscience definitively debunk a long history of damaging pseudo-science and the myth of the biological binary between male and female brains.
Nov 14, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science
This is interesting enough but doesn't add anything to previous books on the topic--effectively, that much research on sex/gender differences is poorly done or poorly reported; that differences do not appear to be innate from birth; and that our brains are plastic and that differences develop over time. At least some of those differences are due to socialization or life experience.

Given the rise in gender-critical/transphobic feminism in the UK I was a little apprehensive that it might make its
Anastasia Abrosimova
Apr 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Incredibly insightful but a fairly long read
Apr 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I highly recommend this fantastic book!
Apr 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
It is an encouraging and also discouraging book as a female and as a girl's mother (though I know this explanation is already 'gendered'). I think those who want to raise their kids free from gender stereotypes would enjoy this book, but I want to recommend this book to those who have strong stereotypical view. Good fact from this book - our brain is malleable !
Charles W.
Mar 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Good one. Recommended.
Jun 23, 2019 rated it liked it
Book review: The Gendered Brain is a new 2019 book by Professor Gina Rippon for general readers. It looks into how neuroscientists have studied the brain over the years + how the gendered lens through which society views gender has actually shaped scientific studies and society’s pre-conceived notions of the brain.

The key take away message: There are more similarities than differences between the supposed male/female divide, and the brain as we know it, isn’t gendered from birth. From this
Aug 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Are Male and Female Brains Different?

For centuries there has been a bias toward describing the sex differences between men and women seen in social behavior as due to differences in the brain. Early research on the brain, as the author points out in the first section of the book, appeared to uphold this hypothesis. However, careful analysis of the research findings suggests that many of the studies were flawed, or biased toward generating the results they produced. I found these first chapters
Ben Zimmerman
We know that male and female bodies differ in some important ways, and that in other mammals there are specific sex dependent behaviors. An obvious extension of those observations is to investigate whether there are sex specific differences in the brains of human males and females that give rise to functional differences that may be behind gender stereotypes. Gina Rippon's book focuses on the ideas of the plasticity and adaptibility of the human brain along with the human brains fine attunement ...more
Oct 22, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
It took me 11h and 20mn to read it all.

Decent book on a difficult topic to objectively address. My thoughts below:

- For women readers, I think a 4-star rating is probably justified. I gave a 3-star to reflect how painful many passages are for men readers. The author's bias (understandable as she is a woman) is hard to miss and makes for some very frustrating parts. The conclusion of which is that she alienates half her potential audience. Many men will probably tune out and it's difficult to
Oct 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
It shatters the myth that male brains and female brains are any different and it goes through different academic papers proving or disagreeing with this theory. It suggests that we as babies absorb everything around us from birth, including gender stereotypes and it looks at the implications of this on our lives both for males and females. I've found it has made me look at the world in a different way, causing me to struggle to feel angry at someone because everyone is so much a product of their ...more
Dec 03, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I thought it was going to be about gender identify and the brain, but it was almost exclusively about debunking so much of the nonsense that exists about the differences between men and women's brains. A key to understanding this book is to understand effect size, a statistical formula for looking at the significance of the difference between two sets. In reality most of the differences in brains have very small effect sizes, but both researchers and media act as if there are major differences.

Sep 23, 2019 rated it liked it
Not much new here. It's a look at various brain studies with suggestions that a slightly different approach might (or might not) have influenced the conclusions reached. Although education and life experiences heavily influence the brain's abilities, studies usually fail to document this kind of information, mentioning only the participants' gender. The author takes several hundred pages to say this, so the book is repetitive and inconclusive. Since very few research studies collect information ...more
Katie Cat Books
Nov 18, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Neurology. Academic. Informative.

In this book, Rippon goes through the history of neurology and mainstream beliefs and assumptions on the difference between male and female brains from early on to the present.

Rippon is a researcher in cognitive neuroscience in the UK and an advocate for women in STEM.

The book is broken down into chapters of about 20 pages in length and include history, a wide range of research comparisons and interpretations and the effect of media and society on our beliefs.
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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.

Her book, Gendered Brain: the new neuroscience that shatters the myth of the female brain, maintains biology plays no core role in differentiating female brains from male brains. As a watershed in the
“Stereotypes could be straitjackening our flexible, plastic brains. So, yes, challenging them does matter.” 4 likes
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