One of the books which made a big impact on me a few years ago was The Essential Difference, a book written by a world-renowned Cambridge-based psychologist, Professor Simon Baron-Cohen, and published in 2003. So I was pleased to learn that on BBC2 at 9pm tonight there’s going to be a Horizon programme purporting to explore the question, ‘Is your brain male or female?’
The cases for and against gendered brain differences being both significant and the basis of some key differences between the behaviours of men and women is overwhelming as a recent book by an unfortunately-named Dutch scientist, Dick Swaab, reveals.
In the Horizon programme the case for some gender-typical behaviour differences being at least partly attributable to brain differences will be put by Michael Mosley, the opposing case by a feminist, Alice Roberts. My strong expectation is – given this is a BBC programme – Roberts and other like-minded people will be given substantially more airtime than Michael Mosley and others in his camp. But hope springs eternal.
A piece written for the BBC website by Michael Mosley is here. I see that in this piece Mosley is described as ‘Dr’ and Roberts a ‘Professor’. The BBC couldn’t have chosen a male professor alongside a female doctor to present a programme on gendered brain differences, could it?