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Sex and Cognition Paperback – Jul 24 2000


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 229 pages
  • Publisher: A Bradford Book (July 24 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0262611643
  • ISBN-13: 978-0262611640
  • Product Dimensions: 15 x 1.3 x 22.6 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 340 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,601,771 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

Kimura provides an authoritative overview of the field of sex differences in cognition, moving from hormones to cognition, genes to behavior, in a calm and clear way. This book will be a valuable resource for students and teachers of cognitive science.

(Simon Baron-Cohen, Departments of Experimental Psychologyand Psychiatry, University of Cambridge, UK)

About the Author

Doreen Kimura is Professor of Psychology at Simon Fraser University. She is the author of Neuromotor Mechanisms in Human Communication and has written on sex and cognition for publications such as Scientific American.

Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews

Format: Paperback
Easy to read and thought provoking, the book describes some very specific differences in mental abilities between men and women. Men are better at hitting a target with a missile and at mentally rotating an object while women are better at fine hand control and at verbal memory.
Two things bothered me about the arguments presented in this book.
One was the attempt to explain the abilities as evolved from the division of labor in early human hunter/gatherer societies. This was contradicted by experiments on rats that showed male rats were better at spatial navigation. This male linked ability could not have evolved in both early mammals and early humans. It would have been better to leave the whole hunter/gatherer argument out as it was not supported by experimentation.
Second, the author mentions "the sex differences...tend to be smaller in Asians and blacks." This would seem to indicate that the sex differences are cultural and not biological. The author assumes that the race differences are biological but gives no evidence to back this up.
The experiments did try to control for many variables such as the person's size, strength, speed, life experience and much more. The author kept the book very much on the science and avoided controversial and subjective politics.
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Format: Paperback
When I wrote "the death of feminism" as the title for the review, I specifically meant the first Article of the Feminist Faith, as enunciated by Erica Jong and countless others: "The only differences between men and women are those which are caused by the environment. In other words, men and women are (or would be) mentally and spiritually identical if it were not for the discriminating socialization of our patriarchal civilization."
This article of faith is false. Doreen Kimura shows how many male/female differences are biological, and -- not only are they in place in the fetus at the age of four months -- they can often be observed across different mammalian species. One example is that women, when learning a new route to travel, pick up a lot more landmarks than men. One way to describe this is that men tend to navigate with some over-all directional sense, while women find their way by following landmarks. No big deal, but a very real difference -- and one which has also been observed in rats.
Books like these are invaluable, since they enable discusssion to begin anew on an entirely different level. At least we can stop kicking dead horses like "all sex differences are caused by child-rearing."
The book is full of dry scientific data, but can be profitably skimmed.
Highly recommended!
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Format: Hardcover
This is an excellent summary of the current science of male/female brain differences, nicely written and well-grounded in experiment.
I read this followed by Sex on the Brain by Blum, Brain Sex by Moir/Jessel, and The Essential Difference by Baron-Cohen. If you only read one book, read The Essential Difference; if two, then read Sex and Cognition followed by The Essential Difference. The other two are worth reading as well, since they both have some unique material and perspectives. If you read all 4, I think the order I happened to read them worked well.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 6 reviews
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Nicely written and well-grounded in science Oct. 19 2003
By Timothy D. Lundeen - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is an excellent summary of the current science of male/female brain differences, nicely written and well-grounded in experiment.
I read this followed by Sex on the Brain by Blum, Brain Sex by Moir/Jessel, and The Essential Difference by Baron-Cohen. If you only read one book, read The Essential Difference; if two, then read Sex and Cognition followed by The Essential Difference. The other two are worth reading as well, since they both have some unique material and perspectives. If you read all 4, I think the order I happened to read them worked well.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Highly Recommend Scientific Study Aug. 20 2015
By Michael - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is well written and well organized. Each chapter covers a specific area of Gender Differences (Sex Differences) as it relates to various cognitive abilities. The book begins with an introduction that presents a summary of the scientific method and explains some of the common falsies and social pressures that lead to incorrect conclusions. Each chapter then summaries some of the author's experiments as well as the work of other researchers. The end of each chapter then has a summary and end notes for the chapter. The book includes an appendix that reviews basic statistical math. And the book concludes with indexes.

The book does not cover every observed difference between men and women. For example, it says nothing about the fact that there is a greater spread of IQ scores for men than for women. There are more male geniuses and more retarded males. Presumably because any features on the X chromosome are not dampened or enhanced by a second X chromosome. This incompleteness in no way takes away from the value of the book or it's quality.

The subject, gender differences, is a very politically charged one and the author does an excellent job of avoiding the pressure to be politically correct and presents the findings as they are - except maybe in the differences in mathematical skills where she seems to work hard to find a way to explain away the differences between men and women ;)

As much as I like the book, it does have a couple of weaknesses. Most notably the author tries, at times, to explain the finding with an evolutionary theory. The problems with this are: the facts do not need to have an evolutionary reason, the facts are sufficient in themselves. Second, evolutionary theories cannot be verified. They are not scientific, they fall more in the realm of religion.

Another, minor, annoyance is that figures and tables are often several pages away from where they are referenced.

I began reading the book skeptically, expecting political correctness, I was pleasantly surprised. I was originally going to give it four stars because of the evolutionary theories given, but the more I read, the more I think it deserves five.

I would recommend this book as a place to start study of differences between men and women. I also believe it would make a good text book in a gender studies course. I like it so much that I have already purchased several copies to give away. There can be no higher recommendation than that.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Closest thing to an authoritative work June 13 2005
By Deborah - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
No author can write an authoritative work in a field this complex and controversial, but Kimura has come close. At times her own views do seem to color her interpretation of certain studies but she is always careful to provide enough information to allow readers to reach their own conclusions.
18 of 26 people found the following review helpful
Interesting but not convincing Nov. 30 2003
By Patrick Loughlin - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Easy to read and thought provoking, the book describes some very specific differences in mental abilities between men and women. Men are better at hitting a target with a missile and at mentally rotating an object while women are better at fine hand control and at verbal memory.
Two things bothered me about the arguments presented in this book.
One was the attempt to explain the abilities as evolved from the division of labor in early human hunter/gatherer societies. This was contradicted by experiments on rats that showed male rats were better at spatial navigation. This male linked ability could not have evolved in both early mammals and early humans. It would have been better to leave the whole hunter/gatherer argument out as it was not supported by experimentation.
Second, the author mentions "the sex differences...tend to be smaller in Asians and blacks." This would seem to indicate that the sex differences are cultural and not biological. The author assumes that the race differences are biological but gives no evidence to back this up.
The experiments did try to control for many variables such as the person's size, strength, speed, life experience and much more. The author kept the book very much on the science and avoided controversial and subjective politics.
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Authorative guide to the literature on sex differences in cognition July 3 2013
By David Reilly - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I'm a PhD studen researching the area of gender differences in cognition, and have found this text to be one of the most
authorative guides to the literature in this area, especially when recommending a book for students and colleagues.
The book clearly represents the perspective of Doreen Kimura, who has been a passionate advocate for research in this area
to better understand the development of intelligence, and how biological and social contributions shape the emergence of
differences at the population level. Other books in this area emphasis simlarities rather than differences between the genders,
but this book takes an opposing view. For its time, this revision of the book as quite exceptional, but since research in
this area is moving so quickly, may become dated in the next decade or so, as I recently read of the authors passing.

If you'd like a guide to the area (for lay persons and students alike), I'd highly recommend picking it up and then supplementing
it with a newer textbook such as the excellent "Sex differences in cognitive abilities" by Diane F. Halpern which is revised every
few years with the most up to date research in the area. Sex Differences in Cognitive Abilities: 4th Edition


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