Reference for upcoming speech at UCI to graduate students exploring the nature/differences of RenMen and RenWomen -Scott
Women should get angry when they read this story, and men should as well, says Larry Cahill, a neuroscientist at UC Irvine who studies what he considers to be the profound differences between the brains of men and women.
But Cahill, who delivers a talk on his research at UCI on Wednesday, hopes the anger won’t come in its usual form: over misguided arguments about whether men or women are more intelligent.
No evidence exists for gender-based, biological impediments to academic achievement, he says – although he thinks there might be biological contributions to success in some fields.
Instead, Cahill hopes to provoke a reassessment among his colleagues, and anger among the general public, about medical science’s failure to take gender-based brain differences seriously.
The differences exist at virtually all levels, he says, from those of tiny cells to large structures in the brain, from brain chemistry to what he calls intriguing differences in the way men and women remember emotionally searing events.
And a failure to see the differences can have medical consequences. Men and women react to pain medications differently. They show differences in symptoms of schizophrenia. Chronic stress can damage men’s brains but, on average, has far less severe effects on women.
Hormonal differences can affect memory; one of Cahill’s students made waves in 2011 when she discovered that taking the pill can cause women’s memories of emotional material to more closely resemble those of men.
Virtually any brain disease, Cahill says, comes along with male-female differences big enough to call for major differences in medical treatment.