The Female Brain (book)


The Female Brain (book)

Infobox_Book
name =


author = Louann Brizendine, M.D.
cover_artist =
publisher = Morgan Road Books
release_date = 2006
media_type = Hardcover
pages = 187, 210 including notes.
size_weight =
isbn = ISBN 0-7679-2009-0

"The Female Brain" is a book by Louann Brizendine, M.D., whose main thesis is that women’s behavior is radically different from that of men due to hormonal differences. Brizendine says that the human female brain is affected by the following hormones: estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, (oxytocin), neurotransmitters (dopamine, serotonin), and difference in architecture of the brain (prefrontal cortex, hypothalamus, amygdale) that regulates such hormones and neurotransmitters. The life cycle of these hormones .

Brizendine's book includes seven chapters. Each chapter is dedicated to either a specific part of a woman’s life such as puberty, motherhood, and menopause or a specific dimension of a women’s emotional life such as feelings, love & trust, and sex. The book also includes three appendices on hormone therapy, postpartum depression, and sexual orientation

The book was not fact checked, and the author took some of her supportive statistics from self-help gurus (see [http://www.boston.com/news/globe/ideas/articles/2006/09/24/sex_on_the_brain/ Fact-checking the Female Brain] ).

Main differences between the female and male brains

The author sees neurological differences between men and women as significant enough that it makes sense to speak of a "female brain" and a "male brain". She believes that the former has larger resources dedicated to communication and emotion, which she deduces from the fact that the female hippocampus is larger than the male, and that the "female brain" has 11% more neurons dedicated to language.Verify credibility|date=July 2007 Testosterone level is a differentiator between male and female as it is so much lower in women. As a result, the author sees women as being cooperative, less competitive, less aggressive, more concerned with emotion of others, and more focused on the group than the self alone. She sees men as being 20 times more aggressive.

According to Brizendine, during their teens the differentiation between the female and male brain is significant. Girls, according to the author, speak faster and two to three times as much as boys. She says that girls need social connection and ongoing communication opportunities. When those are lacking, a girl after puberty is twice as vulnerable as a boy to depression, according to Brizendine. On the other hand, because of lesser developed communication skillsVerify credibility|date=July 2007 boys are a lot more at risk for autism.

Phases of a woman's life

At the beginning of the book, the author created a table that depicts her views on human female neuropsychological development.A summary of this table is depicted below.

The impact of motherhood on the female brain

Per the author, a woman's brain is altered forever after motherhood to enhance the survival of her children. The author analyzes the related metamorphosis of the women's brain in technical detail at the hormonal level.

Love and Sex

The author also addresses at length love and sex. Her findings, based on neuroscience, say that women look for economic stability and loyalty in men. Women's focus is nesting, whilst men's is fertility. However, Brizendine indicates things get more complex. Women do want long-term relationships with loyal and caring providers. However, some may reproduce outside of a long-term realtionship with someone who appears to have superior genes. Brizendine states that 10% of children are fathered in such a way without the male's knowledge. Superior genes are characteristics of males who have greater symmetry in their body and face. Also, the loyalty of a male seems incredibly predetermined by the length of a certain gene (which influences the manufacture of vasopressin receptors)--the longer, the more loyalWho|date=November 2007.

Menopause

The chapter on menopause and the mature women suggests that marriages go through a rebalancing of the roles if they are to survive. The changing hormonal balance, including the drop off in estrogen, triggers a marked reduction in nurturing behavior. Nurturing children and husband becomes really tasking. Postmenopausal women substitute nurturing with self-actualization. This is especially pronounced if the kids are out of college and the husband is retired and expects three meals a day. The terms of the marriage need to be renegotiated if the marriage is to survive. It is women who initiate 65% of the divorces among couples over 50.

The Lawrence Summers issue

Early in the book Brizendine addresses Lawrence Summers' remark that women are underrepresented in mathematics and scientific fields because when comparing men vs. women, even though their average ability may be the same, women's variability (or standard deviation) was lower. Thus, few women reached the top echelons of those fields. Brizendine rebuts Summers by indicating that girls' and boys' ability and variability are the same through their teen years. Brizendine states that fewer women reach the top echelon in the mentioned fields because their brain wiring makes them more social and they do not seek lonesome scientific pursuits.

Supportive authors

*Deborah Tannen. [http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/08/18/AR2006081800429_pf.html 'A Brain of One's Own'.] "Washington Post" August 20, 2006.
* Daniel Goleman author of Emotional Intelligence.
* Christiane Northrup, M.D., author of The Wisdom of Menopause.

Criticism of the book

"Nature"'s review of the book was quite critical, calling "The Female Brain" a "melodrama" "riddled with scientific errors" and "fail [ing] to meet even the most basic standards of scientific accuracy and balance" [http://itre.cis.upenn.edu/%7Emyl/YoungBalabanBrizendine.pdf "Psychoneuroindoctrinology"] . Young and Balaban. (Nature 443(7112), p. 634, October 2006 ] Furthermore, the authors state that:

Human sex differences are elevated almost to the point of creating different species, yet virtually all differences in brain structure, and most differences in behaviour, are characterized by small average differences and a great deal of male–female overlap at the individual level.

David H. Peterzell [http://david.peterzell.org/ Peterzell's web site] .] , a Cognitive and Clinical psychologist, expressed numerous reservations about the book. One of his main objections is that Brizendine conveys certainty about differences in brain structure, including differences in hormonal levels and behavior. Peterzell argues that this is weak science and that the author should have instead studied the relationship between brain structure and behavior from a statistical standpoint, in order to uncover correlations between the two. But, as he argues, correlations are not certainties. Peterzell was also uncomfortable with Brizendine's frequent references to the antidepressant Zoloft. Peterzell felt that amounted to not so subtle product placement throughout the book. Peterzell also disagrees with Brizendine about the extent that inherent inborn brain differences affect men and women. Furthermore, Peterzell argues that Brizendine either understated or ignored entirely the significant influences of environment and socialization on brain development, as opposed to differences at birth.

ee also

*Biology of gender
*Brain Gender
*Brain Sex

References


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