Pink Brain, Blue Brain: How Small Differences Grow Into Troublesome Gaps--and what We Can Do about it

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Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2009 - Family & Relationships - 420 pages
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A precise scientific exploration of the differences between boys and girls that breaks down damaging gender stereotypes and offers practical guidance for parents and educators.

 

In the past decade, we've come to accept certain ideas about the differences between males and females—that boys can't focus in a classroom, for instance, and that girls are obsessed with relationships. In Pink Brain, Blue Brain, neuroscientist Lise Eliot turns that thinking on its head. Calling on years of exhaustive research and her own work in the field of neuroplasticity, Eliot argues that infant brains are so malleable that small differences at birth become amplified over time, as parents and teachers—and the culture at large—unwittingly reinforce gender stereotypes. Children themselves intensify the differences by playing to their modest strengths. They constantly exercise those “ball-throwing” or “doll-cuddling” circuits, rarely straying from their comfort zones. But this, says Eliot, is just what they need to do, and she offers parents and teachers concrete ways to help. Boys are not, in fact, “better at math” but at certain kinds of spatial reasoning. Girls are not naturally more empathetic; they’re allowed to express their feelings. By appreciating how sex differences emerge—rather than assuming them to be fixed biological facts—we can help all children reach their fullest potential, close the troubling gaps between boys and girls, and ultimately end the gender wars that currently divide us.

 

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Contents

Introduction
1 Pink and Blue in the Womb
2 Under the Pink or Blue Blankie
3 Learning Through Play in the Preschool Years
4 Starting School
5 The Wonder of Words
6 Sex Math and Science
7 Love and War
8 Truce Time
Notes
Bibliography
Index
Copyright

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About the author (2009)

Lise Eliot, a graduate of Harvard, received her Ph.D. from Columbia University. She is Associate Professor of Neuroscience at The Chicago Medical School of Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science. The mother of two sons and a daughter, she is also the author of What's Going on in There? How the Brain and Mind Develop in the First Five Years of Life.

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