mercredi, mars 28, 2007


On a gray day in mid-January, Lawrence Summers, the president of Harvard University, suggested that innate differences in the build of the male and female brain might be one factor underlying the relative scarcity of women in science. His remarks reignited a debate that has been smoldering for a century, ever since some scientists sizing up the brains of both sexes began using their main finding--that female brains tend to be smaller--to bolster the view that women are intellectually inferior to men.

To date, no one has uncovered any evidence that anatomical disparities might render women incapable of achieving academic distinction in math, physics or engineering. And the brains of men and women have been shown to be quite clearly similar in many ways. Nevertheless, over the past decade investigators have documented an astonishing array of structural, chemical and functional variations in the brains of males and females.
These inequities are not just interesting idiosyncrasies that might explain why more men than women enjoy the Three Stooges. They raise the possibility that we might need to develop sex-specific treatments for a host of conditions, including depression, addiction, schizophrenia and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Furthermore, the differences imply that researchers exploring the structure and function of the brain must take into account the sex of their subjects when analyzing their data--and include both women and men in future studies or risk obtaining misleading results.

Not so long ago neuroscientists believed that sex differences in the brain were limited mainly to those regions responsible for mating behavior. In a 1966 Scientific American article entitled "Sex Differences in the Brain," Seymour Levine of Stanford University described how sex hormones help to direct divergent reproductive behaviors in rats--with males engaging in mounting and females arching their backs and raising their rumps to attract suitors. Levine mentioned only one brain region in his review: the hypothalamus, a small structure at the base of the brain that is involved in regulating hormone production and controlling basic behaviors such as eating, drinking and sex. A generation of neuroscientists came to maturity believing that "sex differences in the brain" referred primarily to mating behaviors, sex hormones and the hypothalamus.

Resumé Part
In the article they are taking about the difference between the male and female brains. They say that it's been over a century since man tried to prove that women were intellectually inferior to men because of the fact that their brains were smaller. They also say that to date, it is impossible to prove that women are unable of great achievements in math, physics or engineering. They say that over the past years, they have found tons of structural, chemical and functional variations between the brains of the two sex. They say that the main difference in the brain that makes us act differently is the hypothalamus, a small structure at the base of the brain.

Link to the field of study
This article is linked to my field of study because it talks about sciences and how all the chemical parts work in it. They are also talking about the possibility to achieve great things and math, physics, which are some of my field of study. They also debate about scientific article, which we are often studying in my program.

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