Thursday, August 18, 2011

Women's Brain Questions.


by Stephen J. Gould in "The Panda's Thumb" 1980 (pp 152-159)


1. What is the general point that Gould is presenting?

The point Gould is presenting is the size of a woman’s brain is less than that of a man’s, and if it has any correlation with height.

2. What is the general evidence on which that conclusion is based?

In general, women’s brains weighed less than men’s

3. What is the gender of all the researchers producing those data and conclusions?

All of the researchers were men.

4. What weaknesses or problems with those data and their interpretation does Gould point out?

Gould pointed out that women have smaller bodies, compared to men.

5. a) Name the one woman anthropologist mentioned who studied the subject of this essay. b) What did she find after proper correction of Broca's data? c) What were her conclusions from that finding?

a) Maria Montessori

b) She claimed women had slightly large brains than men.

c) Women were intellectually superior, but men had prevailed herefore by dint of physical force.

6. What conclusion does Gould reach about the central issue?

He believes Broca’s data is sound, but his interpretation of the matter was ill hearted.

7. Make a general statement about the role of bias and assumptions in the collecting, processing, and interpretation of data in scientific studies.

No one wants to be told they are worse than someone else or wrong. Our brains won’t let us push aside the jealousy.

8. What other kinds of bias can you think of that might influence observations and interpretations in science?

At the time, women were thought to be less superior to men. Also, as we’ve just seen sexism, racism could also be a huge problem. Which goes along with my statement, “No one wants to be told they’re worse than someone else, or wrong.”

9. Describe your initial feelings about the first 3 pages.

I felt at the time it was appropriate because Women were thought to surly be less superior to men

10. Describe your feeling after finishing the entire article.

It felt amazingly dumb that we were not past the point of thinking women were less superior than men.

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