Pointing out the differences between genders is fun and useful, especially when a person of the opposite gender does something we don’t understand. In fact, we are so focused on the differences, books such as Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus are an instant recipe for success. But what if instead we focus on all the similarities between the genders? We might find that we’re not as different as we think according to psychological scientist Cordelia Fine.
In an article published by Association for Psychological Science, Fine criticizes neurological research that points out the differences between male and female brains. “There were huge discrepancies between what the neuroimaging studies showed and the conclusions and claims that were being drawn from them,” she says.
After analyzing neurological studies showing gender differences, Fine concluded the following:
- Many of the studies Fine looked at didn’t have too many participants. As a results, the gender differences found could have been due to change.
- Neurologists automatically look for gender differences (or similarities) in all their studies, since it is easy to compare. However, this leads to stumbling upon some statistically significant differences by chance when they actually don’t exist, especially when there are few study participants.
- Neurologists are only beginning to understand how different neural activity affects complex psychological behavior. Just because there are small differences in neural activity between men and women does not mean they will necessarily act or feel differently.
- Behavioral psychological research has revealed more gender similarities than differences.
Just because neurologists use fancy tools to get their results, doesn’t alway mean that they are more correct than other researchers.
“A healthy dose of skepticism is required when it comes to reports of sex differences in the brain and what they mean,” explains Fine.
Do you think men and women are from opposite planets? What are the effects of studies that point out gender differences?
Article image via University of Arizona.