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Surprising Science

The Minds of Boys and Girls

In recent years, the ancient debate over how male and female brains differ has generated competing parenting theories, academic scandals, and heated media debate. In her Big Think interview, Chicago Medical School neuroscience professor Lise Eliot stepped boldly into the fray, drawing on the insights in her new book (“Pink Brain, Blue Brain”) to illuminate gender differences in very young children.

Eliot tackled the eternal question of whether boys are more difficult to raise than girls, as well as the newer question of whether distinct toy preferences in toddlers of opposite sexes reflect the influence of nature or nurture. Eliot also explored the truth behind a number of old gender clichés, from boys’ natural aggression to girls’ greater talent for empathy and friendship.


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