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February 15 , 2008

Sex Differences in Cognitive Abilities: 4th Edition


The fourth edition of Sex Differences in Cognitive Abilities critically examines the breadth of research on this complex and controversial topic, with the principal aim of helping the reader to understand where sex differences are found - and where they are not.

Since the publication of the third edition, there have been many exciting and illuminating developments in our understanding of cognitive sex differences. Modern neuroscience has transformed our understanding of the mind and behavior in general, but particularly the way we think about cognitive sex differences. But neuroscience is still in its infancy and has often been misused to justify sex role stereotypes. There has also been the publication of many exaggerated and unreplicated claims regarding cognitive sex differences. Consequently, throughout the book there is recognition of the critical importance of good research; an amiable skepticism of the nature and strength of evidence behind any claim of sex difference; an appreciation of the complexity of the questions about cognitive sex differences; and the ability to see multiple sides of an issues, while also realizing that some claims are well-reasoned and supported by data and others are politicized pseudoscience. The author endeavors to present and interpret all the relevant data fairly, and in the process reveals how there are strong data for many different views.

The book explores sex differences from many angles and in many settings, including the effect of different abilities and levels of education on sex differences, pre-existing beliefs or stereotypes, culture, and hormones. Sex differences in the brain are explored along with the stern caveat to "mind the gap" between brain structures and behaviors. Readers should come away with a new understanding of the way nature and nurture work together to make us unique individuals while also creating similarities and differences that are often (but not always) tied to our being female and male.

Sex Differences in Cognitive Abilities, Fourth Edition, can be used as a textbook or reference in a range of courses and will inspire the next generation of researchers. Halpern engages readers in the big societal questions that are inherent in the controversial topic of whether, when , and how much males and females differ psychologically. It should be required reading for parents, teachers, and policy makers who want to know about the ways in which males and females are different and similar.

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