Posted Aug 9, 2005 23:13 UTC (Tue) by nix
In reply to: scientific?
Parent article: Getting in touch with the feminine side of open source (NewsForge)
Studies have been conducted on young children (who it is presumed are less influenced by gender roles than older children and adults) and those studies have concluded that the brains of boys and girls develop different. IIRC, girls tend to develop speach easier, while boys tend to develop skills like counting and stacking blocks or LEGOS(TM) to make shapes more quickly.
That presumption assumes that young children have no peer group and no parents, which is self-evidently absurd.
As for `the brains of boys and girls develop different', well, there are neurological differences --- but nobody has a clue what effect those differences have, and presuming that they change the propensity of women for technical fields is arguing far in advance of the data. That could be purely social (inasmuch as `purely social' means anything with an organ as adaptable as the brain), or it could not, but so far I haven't found a single experiment which purports to determine that which didn't have enormous methodological flaws or (more often) simply wasn't testing what the experimenters thought it was testing.
Further, note that all known differences between the mental abilities of men and women are differences between averages across populations, and that the range of normal variation in the population far exceeds those differences. I mean, I'm a male whose first words, at about the age most people are saying `mum', were `pneumatic lift'... yet who could not stack blocks at the age of eight. Does that mean I'm mentally female? I don't think so.
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