The Trouble with Sex Differences (2011) by Lise Eliot
[…] popular portrayals of sex differences in the brain are riddled with claims that are highly extrapolated, misinterpreted, or just made up but are nonetheless used to justify the differential treatment of boys and girls in school or men and women in the workplace. If educators or corporate consultants extolled similar stories about neural differences between blacks and whites, scientists would be quick to expose their flaws. Somehow, exaggerated claims about sex differences are more culturally acceptable, but the misuse of research to validate stereotypes of any sort is dangerous, so neuroscientists need to exert more care in presenting the true magnitude and multiple causes of sex differences in the brain and behavior. […]
The notion that sex differences in the brain, because they are biological, are necessarily innate or fixed is perhaps the most insidious of the many public misunderstandings on this topic. Neuroscientists know that, in the absence of proof of genetic or hormonal influence, any sex difference in adult neural structure or function could be shaped through experience, practice, and neural plasticity. […]
[…] lecturing has never been an effective teaching technique and now that information is everywhere, some say it’s a waste of time. Indeed, physicists have the data to prove it.
I’m glad physicists now realize (or, as the article says, they now have the “hard data”, except that these data are not that hard, neither are the techniques used to collect those data) of something that psychologists and educators have known for a long time.
[…] as many women can tell you, it’s uncomfortable, awkward, and sometimes debilitating. So why, evolution, why?
One assumption some people might make is that that is just the way mammalian reproduction works. This isn’t true! Most mammals do not menstruate […] Of the mammals, only most primates, a few bats, and elephant shrews are among the lucky animals that menstruate […]
“You would be amazed to find how often we mislead ourselves, regardless of how smart we think we are, when we attempt to explain why we are behaving the way we do”
The story of how Ernest Dichter, a Viennese psychologist, revolutionised marketing.
Researchers posing as 17-year-old women called pharmacies around the country to ask about getting EC. First off, nearly 20% of the callers were told straight-up that they couldn’t get EC that day–whether because it wasn’t in stock or they didn’t want to give it out or maybe the person who answered the phone hadn’t been trained yet. Regardless, tough luck for the caller who’d really, really like to try to avoid getting pregnant ASAP. Once the callers revealed their age, almost 20% of pharmacies claimed that 17-year-olds could not get the drug–despite the fact that, um, they damn well can. Furthermore, the study found that women in poorer neighborhoods were more than 60% more likely to be misinformed than those in more affluent neighborhoods.
So, young women are getting screwed; poor women are getting screwed. […]
You know the story of the “27 club” right? The club composed of famous musicians who supposedly died all at the age of 27. A paper recently published on BMJ explored if this is something real, if there is really a higher risk for famous musician to die at 27.
The 27 club is unlikely to be a real phenomenon. Fame may increase the risk of death among musicians, but this risk is not limited to age 27. (via)
The researchers found that there was no peak in the risk of death for famous musicians at the age of 27. […] Let’s just say that the risk was much higher after the age of 60 than at the age of 27. (via)
The interesting story of Jay Traver, an entomologist who in 1951 published a paper about
“a mite infestation of her scalp that resisted all treatment and was undetectable to anyone other than herself […]
It is perhaps one of the most remarkable scientific papers ever published, not, as it turns out, because of the startling new discovery, but because the Professor had never been infected by parasites.
The bugs were hallucinated, the infestation a delusion and Traver was suffering from a mental illness.
Known as delusional parasitosis the condition consists of the usually focused delusion that the person is infected by parasites that crawl under the skin and which remain present in the surrounding environment. […]”
via Retraction Watch.