Point Of View

Point Of View

Gender and the Brain: Louann Brizendine's Work Stirs New Controversy

By Ryan Howes

March/April 2011

The debate over whether there are fundamental differences in the psychological and cognitive functioning of men and women is still a volatile political issue, especially for those on the lookout for potentially discriminatory stereotypes. The latest battleground for this debate is the human brain itself. Neuropsychiatrist Louann Brizendine's two bestsellers, The Female Brain and The Male Brain, in which she argues that differences in hormones and brain structure account for much of the difference in male and female behavior, have made her a polarizing figure among scholars and casual readers alike. Newsweek calls her work "common sense to some and nothing short of heresy to others." Brizendine, who'll be a luncheon speaker at the 2011 Networker Symposium in March, recently took a break from the lecture circuit and work as director of the Women's Hormone and Mood Clinic at the University of California, San Francisco, to talk about the controversy surrounding her work.


RH: Why do you think that your work triggers such strong reactions in people?

BRIZENDINE: Oh yeah, people either love it or they hate it! The problem with talking about anything that has to do with gender differences is that it's…

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