TED Conversations

richard moody jr

TEDCRED 10+

This conversation is closed. Start a new conversation
or join one »

Will it ever be "politically" correct to suggest that there may be inate differences between the "hardwiring" of the male and female brain?

We see a profound difference between the level of excellence in chess between men and women. Is this an inate difference or a learned difference? In many Eastern European countries women were strongly encouraged to participate in chess, yet the strongest women were about two tiers below the strongest men. Even today only one woman, Hungarian Judit Polgar, cracked the top 10.

The same can be said about the highest levels of physics and math. If this is simply described as a fact, then the "perpetrator" is apt to be called sexist for stating a simple fact. Women excel in other areas but the question here is it acceptable to talk about inate differences between men and women without rancor? What are the differences? How much is nature and how much is nurture? Or is this just a politically incorrect topic not worthy of discussion?

0
Share:

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

  • Nov 9 2012: For now,it's simply not possible,since,in almost all the cases,men and women have been raised in differents and often,divergent way . The only way to tell if those differences are inate or learned is to pick up some childrens(plenty of them),after they were born,and apply the same method of raising,for all of them,with NO DIFFERENCE between the method that each child is raised(a.k.a. raise them in a bubble) . But,currently,doing such experiment with humans is impossible,as parents don't trust on someone else to raise their childrens in a equal way with other childrens . The same comparison was made at the past,between excellence of black and white people and such excellence turns out to be more related to the enviroment where the person grows than on its skin colour . The same mistake can't be made again,between sexes .
    • Nov 10 2012: This experiment has been tried. Lazlo Polgar decided to experiment on his daughters by training them to be genuises in a random topic. His first daughter Zsuzsa showed mild interest in chess so he focussed on that. When his other two daughters were born, they were immersed in chess, too. Judit even defeated a Master blindfolded at age 5!. She has become the highest rated female player ever. Her sister Zsophia had one of the 5 greatest tournament achievements in chess of all time. Zsuzsa became the first female Grandmaster and later became female World Champion, but she barely reached the top 100 players in the world.

      Zsophia dropped out of serious competitive chess; Judit became a wife and mother and is still one of the top players in the World, but has never been a serious candidate for World Champion (although she has beaten former World Champions).

      I am a member of the Schenectady Chess Club. About 15 men and boys, not a single woman or girl. Go to any chess tournament and you will see ten boys for every girl. For whatever reason far more boys approach competitive chess as a hobby than girls. I can't believe this is just because fathers and mothers encourage their male children to pursue chess but not the girls. There appears to be a very real difference in the desire to pursue and achieve excellence in chess between males and females. As I indicated earlier in Eastern Europe girls have been strongly encouraged to achieve chess excellence and they do---just not at the level of proficiency as their male counterparts.

      I suggest this has to do with some aspect of "hardwiring" that can only be remedied (if nurture is the cause), perhaps, when it is just as acceptable to be an obsessive female genius as a male genius.

      We know we have female geniuses in other topics. Just look at Emily Dickinson. She was a reclusive genius most likely bipolar, "a plank in reason broke", and you will find no shortage of literary female geniuses.
      • Nov 16 2012: Well,but the main point here isn't about if there are inate/learned differences between them . The point is to explain which difference between them is inated or learned,and a wider experiment is necessary to find out about it .

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.