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Delusions of Gender: The Real Science Behind Sex Differences Hardcover – 2 Sep 2010


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Icon Books Ltd; First Edition edition (2 Sept. 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 184831163X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1848311633
  • Product Dimensions: 14.7 x 3.3 x 22.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (56 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 429,787 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

In 'Delusions of Gender' Cordelia Fine does a magnificent job debunking the so-called science, and especially the brain science, of gender. If you thought there were some inescapable facts about women's minds - some hard wiring that explains poor science and maths performance, or the ability to remember to buy the milk and arrange the holidays - you can put these on the rubbish heap. Instead, Fine shows that there are almost no areas of performance that are not touched by cultural stereotypes. This scholarly book will make you itch to press the delete button on so much nonsense, while being pure fun to read. --Emeritus Professor Uta Frith FBA, FMedSci, FRS, Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience, University College London, Research Foundation Professor, University of Aarhus

Cordelia Fine has a first-rate intellect and writing talent to burn. In her new book, 'Delusions of Gender', she takes aim at the idea that male brains and female brains are "wired differently," leading men and women to act in a manner consistent with decades-old gender stereotypes. Armed with penetrating insights, a rapier wit, and a slew of carefully researched facts, Fine lowers her visor, lifts her lance, and attacks this idea full-force. Whether her adversaries can rally their forces and mount a successful counter-attack remains to be seen. What's certain at this point, however, is that in 'Delusions of Gender' Cordelia Fine has struck a terrific first blow against what she calls "neurosexism." --William Ickes, Distinguished Professor of Psychology, University of Texas at Arlington Author of 'Everyday Mind Reading'

Fine turns the popular science book formula on its head -- USA Today, August 2010

Fine is fun, droll yet deeply serious. Setting a cracking pace, 'Delusions' tackles the power of implicit association (those unconscious associations we make about men and women) and of negative stereotyping, plus the empathising/systematising theory proposed by psychologist Simon Baron-Cohen, and the messy world of brain scans and genetic research. Her conclusion: we are in thrall to "neurosexism". --New Scientist 1 September 2010

The author, Cordelia Fine, who has a Ph.D. in cognitive neuroscience from University College London, is an acerbic critic, mincing no words when it comes to those she disagrees with. But her sharp tongue is tempered with humor and linguistic playfulness, as the title itself suggests.... It's too late to tell that to Dr. Sax, a proponent of single-sex education, who cited the Connellan study as evidence that "girls are born prewired to be interested in faces while boys are prewired to be more interested in moving objects." But it's not too late to read this book and see how complex and fascinating the whole issue is.
--New York Times, 24 August 2010

`In a book that sparkles with wit, which is easy to read but underpinned by substantial scholarship and a formidable 100-page bibliography, Cordelia Fine attacks the ready generalisations on sexual differences made by neuroscientists and their media exegetes.' - Hilary Rose
--THE, 30th September, 2010

About the Author

Cordelia Fine is a Research Associate at Macquarie University, Australia, and an Honorary Research Fellow at the Centre for Applied Philosophy & Public Ethics at the University of Melbourne, Australia. She was called 'A science writer to watch' by Metro on publication of her previous book, A Mind of Its Own.

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Michael Watson on 19 May 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The first third of this book is incredible, it cited sources and large enough studies to convince any honest person of it's point and it's importance. It' completely changed my views on many of what I now consider to be key and generally poorly understood issues. But after that something strange happened. It started when she was comparing how important people perceive work of men and women to be, in support of her point she cited that 2 couples she was friends with both thought the man was more busy/ important at work, at this point alarm bells started going,

they continued ever louder while a paragraph was given to discrediting rat studies only for a rat study to be used in supporting one of her points not 10 pages later.

and they became deafening when an entire chapter was given to discrediting another persons work because although they could show a link from foetal testosterone levels to brain structure they couldn't then show a link to behaviour (although differences existed). which was fine but don't then in the very next chapter quote a nobel prize winner in support of your point saying that a great scientist is one who can try to predict the whole picture when only fragments of it can be seen.

In summary, the first 1/3 of the book is well worth the cost of the whole thing but it's worth keeping 'the filter' on if you are going to read the rest.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By happymgee on 18 Aug. 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Since working recently for a company that sells books for children all neatly published in lists either for 'girls' (princess, fairies, shopping and pink), or 'boys' (space, transport, animals and science), and having my concerns dismissed because "that's just the way boys and girls are", gender roles and gender stereotypes have been on my mind a lot.

There has been much in the media recently about the male and female brain and resulting assumptions about gender that people seem to take as gospel truth, but have made me uncomfortable and a little sad.

I was worried that my ideas about gender, and my aversion to gender role stereotypes, were wrong and that all this new 'science' was proof of inherent unavoidable differences; but this book has very convincingly shown me that I was right to be skeptical. It's opened my eyes to the importance of skepticism toward anything based on incomplete and not yet fully understood science. It really showed me just how separated by society men and women are, and now that my eyes are opened I've noticed so much more in the media and general life that reinforces traditional presumptions about gender.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By GrahamM on 20 May 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Cordella Fine looks at the research done into the supposed difference between how men and women think. She finds that most, if not all, the research studies are inconclusive, but she finds the 'results' have been used to promote views that are false and misleading.
I found this a stimulating read. It was worth reading, and made me realise how manipulated we are.
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83 of 95 people found the following review helpful By Rich Clayton on 29 Aug. 2010
Format: Hardcover
I found this book stunning. All around you see all this stuff about 'Men's brains' and 'Women's brains', and it always struck me as odd that a sex that has, for example, written so much brilliant literature should be deemed semi-autistic, etc etc. So here comes this brilliantly researched book (just take a look at the pages and pages of notes at the end - this author knows her onions backwards and forwards and sideways) - and she points out how shoddy it all is.
And she's funny!
No one will ever again have to sit through a dinner party with some parent going on about how 'I thought that too, but you only have to LOOK at my ttwo children to see there are innate differences...bleh bleh'. She unpickes it all and shows how social pressures are so important and the brain differences that are so often claimed are, essentially, neurotosh, aka neurosexism. I think I shall carry a copy round with me.
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27 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on 4 Jan. 2011
Format: Hardcover
This book should be required reading for all women - and men, and especially all those who would wish to be enlightened parents.

The author reviews and explains neuroscience studies, real and spurious, in the area of gender that are genuinely surprising to read about. Assumptions I've made over the years are taken apart and revealed as 'tricks of the mind'. Studies are analyzed and shown to be 'bad science'. It is genuinely eye-opening, even for those of us who have always thought themselves fairly 'gender aware'. Thankfully the hardiest detractor of Cordelia Fine's work (and I'll just bet there are many - this area is always one in which you light the blue touchpaper and retire!)would have trouble finding her rabid or partisan. The wry - and overt - humour in the text is wonderful.

I heartily recommend this book - for it's balanced, scientific approach, its good humour and it's well-written prose.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By vegan cowgirl on 19 Jun. 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Hands down one of the best books on gender issues and popular assumptions about gender I have ever read. And for all that it tackles some pretty heavy theory and science, it's a remarkably light read, that will even have you laughing out loud at times, without ever becoming less than serious and passionate.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By S. Morton on 25 July 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Someone on Facebook recommended this to me, as part of a conversation we were having about gender perceptions. I thought I was pretty savvy about these issues but this just blew me away. It's the sort of book you want to keep quoting at people, you'll want to buy it for people, and force them to read it. It opened my eyes to how much I have been conditioned by society to be a certain way, and how much I have been part of the conditioning. Once your eyes are opened, you see examples of it everywhere - the author makes a good case, and then you see the evidence yourself. Terrifying. But a very necessary book. Give it to your children to read.
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