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Do you have a female brain or a male brain? Or is that the wrong question?
Reading maps or reading emotions? Barbie or Lego? We live in a gendered world where we are bombarded with messages about sex and gender. On a daily basis we face deeply ingrained beliefs that your sex determines your skills and preferences, from toys and colours to career choice and salaries. But what does this constant gendering mean for our thoughts, decisions and behaviour? And what does it mean for our brains?
Drawing on her work as a professor of cognitive neuroimaging, Gina Rippon unpacks the stereotypes that bombard us from our earliest moments and shows how these messages mould our ideas of ourselves and even shape our brains. Taking us back through centuries of sexism, The Gendered Brain reveals how science has been misinterpreted or misused to ask the wrong questions. Instead of challenging the status quo, we are still bound by outdated stereotypes and assumptions.
By exploring new, cutting-edge neuroscience, Rippon urges us to move beyond a binary view of our brains and instead to see these complex organs as highly individualised, profoundly adaptable, and full of unbounded potential.
Rigorous, timely and liberating, The Gendered Brain has huge repercussions for women and men, for parents and children, and for how we identify ourselves.
Professor Gina Rippon is an international researcher in the field of cognitive neuroscience based at the Aston Brain Centre at Aston University in Birmingham. Her research involves the use of state-of-the-art brain imaging techniques to investigate developmental disorders such as autism. She is a regular contributor to events such as the British Science Festival, New Scientist Live and the Sceptics in the Pub series. In 2015 she was made an Honorary Fellow of the British Science Association for her contributions to the public communication of science. She is also an advocate for initiatives to help overcome the under-representation of women in STEM subjects. As part of a European Union Gender Equality Network, she has addressed conferences all over the world. She belongs to WISE and ScienceGrrl, and is a member of Robert Peston's Speakers4Schools programme and the Inspiring the Future initiative. The Gendered Brain is her first book for the general reader.