Sex Differences in Cognitive Abilities: 4th Edition Reviews

Sex Differences in Cognitive Abilities: 4th Edition

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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3 Comments

  1. Susan C. said,

    Wrote on June 18, 2017 @ 10:15 pm

    3.0 out of 5 stars
    A feminist’s perspective…, May 11, 2017
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    This review is from: Sex Differences in Cognitive Abilities: 4th Edition (Paperback)
    This book is an oddity. An author who sides with women at every ostensible opportunity, but is still overwhelmed by science. Before I get into my critique, I’ll note that Halpern is a terrible writer. The book could easily be cut by a third. And I quickly lost count the number of times she used the word “and” instead of “which” or “but” when it was obviously needed. Even if you love her viewpoint, you will hate reading the book.

    Halpern is a third wave feminist. She believes the 0.22 wage gap myth. Thinks that women choosing family over career are being coerced. And falls for the equality of outcome fallacy.

    On pg.123 Halpern notes the gender disparity among prominent authors. This despite women consistently scoring higher in verbal fluency. This conflates complexity with quality. Perhaps, like Halpern, they like to talk more than they like to be understood.

    My biggest problem with the book is that she didn’t spend time on physical aggression, competitiveness, nor sexual behavior. By the end, I felt my time was wasted. I’d enjoyed the discussion on flaws in the research, but it wasn’t enough. Although I recommend you read this, I don’t recommend you expect much.

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  2. STEVE KIM said,

    Wrote on June 18, 2017 @ 10:58 pm

    6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    Terrific in-depth book on sex-differences and cognitive abilities, June 12, 2013
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    Verified Purchase(What’s this?)
    This review is from: Sex Differences in Cognitive Abilities: 4th Edition (Paperback)
    Up-to date, readable, and useful for those interested in sex differences with scientific studies supporting the claims. Excellent source material for my own research with ample citations that could be accessed. I loved the book and give much credit to the author in how she explains and uses her biopsychosocial model of brain development to demonstrate that though some abilities that are demonstrated by different brain areas, though different in men and women, are not hard-wired. Alterations occur through learning and experiences. it is not nature or nurture, but a complex set of interactions. I actually read the book in two days.
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  3. Anonymous said,

    Wrote on June 18, 2017 @ 11:02 pm

    0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    Five Stars, May 4, 2016
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    This review is from: Sex Differences in Cognitive Abilities: 4th Edition (Paperback)
    Thank you.
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