The Biology of Gender: New Research

I often hear people talk about the relationship between gender and behavior in fairly simple terms, as if the different behaviors of men and women were due entirely (or at least mostly) to biology or entirely to culture.

Some people and researchers believe that the pendulum lately has swung toward biology, with the idea that men’s and women’s brains are “hard wired” differently, which largely explains our different behaviors. Many scientists would not agree with such simplistic “biological determinism,” but the idea exists.

But some new research suggests that we really don’t know enough to make these pronouncements. The writer of this article in Wired magazine is refreshingly careful not to simply declare that biology is wrong and culture now has more weight. But he does offer a nice explanation of why the previous research favoring a biological explanation is less valid than previously believed.

Will we ever fully understand the complexities of how both culture and biology inform gendered behavior? No doubt it will take much more research. But it will also require our willingness to listen to and question the research, to be open to reconsidering some of our most deeply held assumptions about girls and boys, men and women, about who and how we are.

Get the full details here.