Serendip is an independent site partnering with faculty at multiple colleges and universities around the world. Happy exploring!

I didn't get what I expected

rachelr's picture

Starting out reading the preface for “Brain Storm” I expected to find out what some common differences are between brain structuring is between people who identify as different genders. As we saw from our readings last week, some women have equal levels of testosterone as men or sometimes even higher levels, so if hormone levels currently present in the brain doesn’t account for gender differences, it makes sense to me that it would be some structural wiring in the brain. Instead I found myself reading about case after case, generalization after generalization, being torn apart. Good points were brought up in both “Brain Storm” (how we gather information, quasi experiments, professional and academic differences/similarities, socialization vs. biology, sex vs. gender) and the critique “Looking for Difference?” (group differences vs. individual differences, assuming universal behavior, heterosexism as the norm, decreased masculinity of gay men, the rigidity of some scientists, inability to reconsider a better explanation for results). However I found myself disappointed at the end of the readings because I just didn’t come away with what I expected to.


Something that particularly resounded with me was on page 271 of “Brain Storm” with the summary:

“The three key concepts are the inseparability of experience and heredity, the importance of random events, and the fact that development is a lifelong process. Outcomes in the cognitive domain, in particular, are always contingent, rather than ultimate.”


Totally makes 100% sense. But still that is saying that there is something biological dictating sexual/gendered behavior which again makes sense simply based on the fact that species survive; they have to reproduce, which means for a large portion of them sexual interaction between males and females. I guess what I was looking for was some brain structure, some neurotransmitter that is still standing as a possible biological indicator of gender identification. Indicator, because of the other factors that Jordan-Young stated. And I still want to read about what has been found about this.