The Essential Difference: Male And Female Brains And The Truth About Autism

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Basic Books, Apr 29, 2009 - Psychology - 288 pages
We all appreciate that there are differences in the typical psychology of men and women. Yet underlying these subtle differences, Simon Baron-Cohen believes, there is one essential difference, and it affects everything we do: Men have a tendency to analyze and construct systems while women are inclined to empathize. With fresh evidence for these claims, Baron-Cohen explores how these sex differences arise more from biological than cultural causes and shows us how each brain type contributes in various ways to what we think of as "intelligence." Emphasizing that not all men have the typically "male" brain, which he calls Type "S," and not all women have the typically female brain (Type "E"), Baron-Cohen explores the cutting-edge research that illuminates our individual differences and explains why a truly "balanced" brain is so rare. Filled with surprising and illuminating case studies, many from Baron-Cohen's own clinical practice, The Essential Difference moves beyond the stereotypes to elucidate over twenty years of groundbreaking research. From gossip to aggression, Baron-Cohen dissects each brain type and even presents a new theory that autism (as well as its close relative, Asperger's syndrome) can be understood as an extreme form of the male brain. Smart and engaging, this is the thinking person's guide to gender difference, a book that promises to change the conversation about-and between-men and women.

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User Review  - ThePinesLibrary - LibraryThing

This ground-breaking and controversial study reveals the scientific evidence (present even in one-day-old babies) which proves that female-type brains are better at empathizing and communicating ... Read full review

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User Review  - jwrudn - LibraryThing

That rare scientifically fascinating book for the non scientist. Thought provoking. Will change the way you think about men and women. A Men are from Mars, Women from Venus for intelligent readers. Read full review


Boy Meets Girl
Evolution of the Male and Female Brain
The Extreme Male Brain
A Professor of Mathematics
The Reading the Mind in the EyesTest
The Empathy Quotient EQ
The Systemizing Quotient SQ
The Autism Spectrum Quotient AQ

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Page 248 - Are the central nucleus of the amygdala and the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis differentially involved in fear versus anxiety?
Page 239 - Sex, succession and stratification in the first six civilizations: How powerful men reproduced, passed power on to their sons, and used their power to defend their wealth, women and children.
Page 254 - How selfish soever man may be supposed, there are evidently some principles in his nature which interest him in the fortunes of others, and render their happiness necessary to him, though he derives nothing from it except the pleasure of seeing it.
Page 235 - U. (1999). The neuroanatomy of autism: a voxel-based whole brain analysis of structural scans.
Page 3 - Systemizing is the drive to analyze, explore, and construct a system. The systemizer intuitively figures out how things work, or extracts the underlying rules that govern the behavior of a system.
Page 2 - Empathising is the drive to identify another person's emotions and thoughts, and to respond to these with an appropriate emotion.

About the author (2009)

Simon Baron-Cohen is professor of psychology and psychiatry and director of the Autism Research Centre at Cambridge University. He is the author of six hundred scientific articles and four books, including The Science of Evil and The Essential Difference.

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