Fall 2008

Gender, the Brain and Behavior

Listed in: Psychology, as PSYC-43


Sarah M. Turgeon (Section 01)


This course will explore a number of interrelated questions regarding gender and science. We will start by describing gender stereotypes: beliefs about the characteristics, abilities, traits, and behaviors that distinguish women and men. We will then examine the empirical investigations and scientific theories from the fields of biology and psychology that purport to define and explain gender differences. We will consider, for example, gender identity, sexual orientation, cognitive abilities and preferences, parenting, and communication styles. We will draw on scientific literature from the fields of evolutionary psychology, behavioral endocrinology, developmental biology, genetics, and developmental psychology. We will look closely at the nature of the evidence from both human and animal research as well as consider the political and social contexts in which gender differences and similarities are studied. We will conclude by questioning whether the doing of science is itself a gendered activity. This course will pay particular attention to the development of the students’ skills in both writing and oral presentation. Requisite: Psychology 11 or 12. Limited to 15 students. Fall semester. Professor Turgeon.