Re: Gender and Cognitive Style

Patrick Wilken (
Sat, 21 Nov 1998 13:45:54 +1100

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

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. While the brain clearly processes different sorts of information in different hemispheres I don't think there is any evidence that would allow you to attribute broad cognitive styles to a dominance in one or other hemisphere. I would be interested if you have any references that support this view.

As a side note: I have a friend who's Honours thesis in psychology involved looking at which side of the body infants were held. It turns out that about 70% of people hold their infants on the left and this occurs cross-culturally. It even occurs if you give people dolls to hold, but not other similarly weighted objects like large ball or pillow. In fact whether you hold a doll on your leftside is predictive of whether you want to have children. It has nothing to do with handness (lefthanders show the same bias) and does not appear to be related to putting the infant near the heart-beat. The best explanation I have come across is that emotional processing is laterized in the brain and argues that positive emotion is predominantly (completely?) processed in the right hemisphere (where the left visual field is processed). So there are weird differences in terms of laterization, but I am not sure there is any evidence that sex affects laterization.

best, patrick

Patrick Wilken          
Editor:     PSYCHE: An International Journal of Research on Consciousness
Secretary:      The Association for the Scientific Study of Consciousness