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Differences between male and female (interests and mindset)

  1. Jun 6, 2013 #1
    I'm talking about humans by the way but other animals may also be included.
    Apart from the obvious reproductive organ differences and physical differences, is there a difference in the mindset?

    Now I see girls and boys developing different interests since they are born. Girls start playing with dolls and boys with toy-cars etc.
    Coming to the realms of science and engineering, some departments are filled with males and some have more females. Just to give an example - I find very few females in the mechanical engineering department.
    You can see this outside science and engineering too.

    So does there exist a difference in the brain which causes different interests and mindset or is it a cultural thing?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 6, 2013 #2
    This is an extremely difficult area to investigate in humans because it is all but impossible to exclude the cultural factors for ethical reasons.
    Two areas of study come from those that are born with dubious gender.

    One group is those born XY male genetically but who have a testosterone deficiency meaning that they have female sexual characteristics but with stronger muscles like a male and do not have a fully formed uterus or ovaries. They are generally reported as typical females in psychological terms.

    The other is genetically female XX but has a blockage in producing producing oestrogens leading to adrenal hyperplasia and indeterminant external sexual organs. Certainly the 'wisdom' of a generation ago that I was taught was that whichever they were called, a boy or a girl, that is how they grew up.

    So there is certainly a massive contribution of learning and mindset. Gender differences in mindset are still being taught very heavily in swathes of society and the media regardless of the highest values of equality and feminism.
  4. Jun 6, 2013 #3


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    Staff: Mentor

    It is a hornet's nest.

    Seriously, it is a subject of a heated debate, often watered by a political correctness.

    My understanding is that there are strictly biological differences amplified by cultural ones. You may want to read Brain Sex by Jessel and Moir.
  5. Jun 21, 2013 #4
    Biology directly influences behavior. There's a lot of research on gender and sex differences. There aren't very many gender differences, though it may seem like it because of the contrast effect, but there are many sex differences. Any minor sex differences become enhanced through culture. Culture is what happens when biology meets environment. Environment dictates which traits are enhanced, subdued, or moot. This may be the reason why males came to dominate most cultures because of the size and strength traits inherent in male biology and why females came to dominate the household.
  6. Jun 21, 2013 #5

    jim mcnamara

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    Staff: Mentor

    Solcielo L -- please cite some reputable source for your statements.
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