Re: Gender and Cognitive Style

Timothy Bates (
Sat, 21 Nov 1998 16:57:45 +1100

Hi all
Mikey said
>I would say that since women have a dominant right brain, while men are
>dominant left,

Patrick wrote
>How do you come at this? I wasn't aware there was any good evidence
>differences in lateralization between men and women that contributed to
>cognitive style. [Any references?]

Dozens. Apart from very well documented differences in language area size (a researcher at UNSW is doing some of this with post mortem cell counts: the differences are substantial) and other tasks such as spatial judgment (see for a review), recently Goldberg been developing an approach that focuses on preferred style rather than ability using a cognitive preference task that I find interesting. I append the abstract below.

One reason that there is less on this than one might expect is that interest in this topic tends to generate the response that Damien was driven to emit, i.e.:

>What? *What????* WHAAAAH

Not conducive to getting grants or publishing work.

Anyhow, there is tons. From a neuropsych perspective, go to <> and enter this search or similar
((spatial[All Fields] AND (sex[All Fields] OR gender[All Fields])) AND difference[All Fields])

For fun add the term "laterality" to pick up neuroscience references.

Here is Goldberg's paper:

Podell K, Lovell M, Zimmerman M, Goldberg E (1995) The Cognitive Bias Task and lateralized frontal lobe functions in males. J Neuropsychiatry Clin Neurosci 1995 Fall;7(4):491-501

The Cognitive Bias Task (CBT) is a multiple-choice response selection paradigm characterized by inherent ambiguity. All items offer a range from extremely context-dependent to extremely context-invariant responses. Lateralized prefrontal lesions produce extreme, and opposite, response biases on CBT in right-handed males. Healthy control subjects perform in the middle range. Findings suggest a dynamic balance between two synergistic decision-making systems in the frontal lobes: context-dependent in the left hemisphere and context-invariant in the right. The robust lateralized effects, which are dependent on task ambiguity, are sensitive and specific to frontal dysfunction. CBT is discussed in comparison with the Wisconsin Card Sorting Test as a potential cognitive activation task for functional neuroimaging of the frontal lobes.

Dr. Timothy Bates                   Don't compromise.  Use QuickTime.
Dept Psychology                     <>
Macquarie University                <>
Sydney NSW 2109 Australia   

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