Brain Sex: The real difference between men & women. Moir, A., Jessel, D.

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Moir, A., Jessel, D.  (1991) Brain Sex: The real difference between men & women. New York, NY: Carol Publishing Company

This book is like the mother of almost all gender research books and articles I’ve read because probably eighty percent will refer in one way or another back to this book.  Moir and Jessel were two of the first authors to synthesize the scientific literature and argue (in lay language) for innate sexual differences in the brains of males and females.  They begin by describing how this begins even before birth, in the womb, when fetuses are still swimming in a unique chemical soup of nutrients and hormones.  They describe how the concentrations of these chemicals shape and set the brain in the womb and allow for a certain degree of male trait (such as mathematical or special intelligence) or female trait (such as empathy or language skills) to exhibit itself throughout the life of that child.


  1. Pingback: Listen up! Boys and girls hear, learn, read differently | We Teach We Learn

  2. Dr. Sanford Aranoff says:

    To understand men and women better, let us look at primitive people. The man hunted. He and his friends had to focus on the goal of getting the animal. They had to discuss the various steps needed, starting from the basic principles that they knew. They did not know exactly how to accomplish the goal, but did know some things, and so they did what they could. After killing the animal, they had to check that the animal was dead, or else it may be able to kill them.

    In summary, talk was goal oriented, starting from basic ideas, and moving step by step. We must clearly state the problem. We must check our conclusions before we can feel satisfied.

    The woman did not hunt. She needed to attract and hold a man. She got his interest by engaging him in conversation. The purpose of conversation was not goal oriented, as the man’s purpose is, but to arouse his emotions and interest. In summary, her aim was the other’s person’s response. Likewise, talk with babies was oriented for the purpose of getting the baby’s response, and also, later on as the child grows, for the goals of instruction.

    A woman is happy when she has friends with whom she can engage in conversation. Conversation is give and take. One person says something, then the other responds. The purpose of conversation is to hold and maintain the other person’s interest. A man, on the other hand, is happy if his goal is accomplished. Men talk in order to decide how best to accomplish goals.

    Men and women need to understand this. Men need to clearly articulate their goals and principles. The trouble is that they do not learn this as young children, as they are raised by women who talk for the purpose of holding the other’s interest. Men have to break out of this and learn to be independent rational thinkers focused on goals and understanding principles. Many have difficulty in this understanding, and so remain frustrated and unhappy. Men must also understand women, who are not goal oriented but talk for emotional bonding. Men must focus their attention when talking to women on conversation and not goals, in order to successfully relate to women.

    Women need to understand this in order to understand and accept themselves to be happier. They also need to understand how men think, which is very different from their way of thinking. When men talk, they do not care about the relationship and emotions, but primarily care about the goals.

    Men today are losing their masculinity, and becoming feminine, failing to focus on goals and principles. News shows on television tend to have conversations, each person saying something and the other replying. This is the feminine approach, as it does not allow the proper lengthy statement necessary to cover the various logical steps starting from the accepted principles leading to desired goals. The reason the television shows are feminine is because the goal is the feminine goal of attracting and holding viewers’ interest, not the masculine goal of solving problems.

    We need to investigate the world that we live in, and to be objective and thorough in our investigations. We must not permit previously held opinions to cloud or influence our research.
    When Professor Summers of Harvard University said we need to perform research on comparative intelligence of men and women, he was fired, as women did not like what he said. Women do not have the same goals as men. It is not a difference in intelligence, but goals. Summers was correct in saying we need to perform research. He never said women’s intelligence is inferior, as women accused him of saying. Women objected as this statement does not help emotional bonding between men and women, which is all that they care about. Men care about the truth, not emotions, for they need to know what they have to do to get the animal for meat for dinner. Women care about holding the man’s interest. As the French say, “Long live the difference!”