Dear virtual community,
This may be a really stupid question, but I am obsessed. Couple of weeks ago a lecturer asked me in a lecture: ”A-M, do cognitive (neuro)scientists really think that the female and male brains are different?” I said: “Yes, pretty much so. The empirical – for example anatomical – evidence seems to support that conception. There are also theories about the prenatal, perinatal and other mechanisms of sexual differentation in the brains”. (See for example the bible – i.e. Kandel and Schwartz.)
He seemed unhappy, since he (of course) wanted to know, whether cognitive neuroscientists really think that female and male _cognitions_ are different.
Well, I do not even know, how the question should be understood in the context of “hard core cognitive neurosciences”. Is it, for example, meaningful to ask “Are there any differences in female and male cognitions from the perspective of neurocomputational architecture?” (This morning I was pretty convinced that there are… Greetings from virtual reality to home!)
Of course, Simon Baron-Cohen (and Panksepp?) have been arguing for the suggestion that there are at least some differences (the hemisphere specialization and the systemic brain- hypothesis), but… I really do not know, what is going on in the current literature.
So, what do you think? Are the cognitions different? At what level are they different, if they are? And why? If not, why not?