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Open Access Highly Accessed Book review

Tempests and tales: challenges to the study of sex differences in the brain

Margaret M McCarthy1* and Gregory F Ball2

Author Affiliations

1 Departments of Physiology and Psychiatry, Program in Neuroscience, University of Maryland School of Medicine, 655 W. Baltimore St., Baltimore, MD 21210, USA

2 Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, Ames Hall, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD 21218, USA

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Biology of Sex Differences 2011, 2:4  doi:10.1186/2042-6410-2-4

Published: 28 April 2011

First paragraph (this article has no abstract)

The topic of sex differences in brain and behavior continues to garner broad interest and generate considerable controversy. A spate of popular books in the past decade has heralded many of the recent advances in the study of the biological basis of human brain differences in relation to sex and gender. Volumes such as Doreen Kimura's Sex and Cognition [1], Simon Baron-Cohen's The Essential Difference: Men, Women and the Extreme Male Brain [2], Melissa Hines's Brain Gender [3] and Louann Brizendine's The Female Brain [4] have reviewed, and in some instances overinterpreted, the current state-of-the-art. This flurry of attention has also generated lightning rods for criticism, as evidenced by the two books reviewed here: Rebecca M Jordan-Young's Brain Storm: The Flaws in the Science of Sex Differences [5] and Cordelia Fine's Delusions of Gender: How Our Minds, Society and Neurosexism Create a Difference [6]. Both books contain much of merit that we think readers of the Biology of Sex Differences will agree with, but both books can be vexing in the ways the scientific study of sex differences in brain and behavior is portrayed and the current state-of-the-art is presented.