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Long Winter for Lawrence Summers

Poor Harvard President Summers. He has apologized for his remarks suggesting that women were intrinsically predisposed to not do as well as men in math and science, but the fur keeps flying. As well it should. While he is certainly entitled to his opinions, they aren't backed up by the facts.

In a paper scheduled to appear in the journal Intelligence... scientists in Germany report that only women with relatively low testosterone exposure scored worse than men on tests of spatial and numerical ability. Women with relatively high exposure compared with other women -- half the sample -- scored as well as men. However testosterone boosts the brain's spatial and numerical ability, an awful lot of women are getting enough of it to benefit, even when they're getting less than men.

In general, for every finding that boy brains have an edge (they're bigger) there's a finding that girl brains do. For instance, scientists reported in Nature Neuroscience last year that women's cortexes are more complex, with more of the intricate folds that underlie higher brain function such as that needed for science.

More important, if scientists have learned one thing about the brain it is that our gray matter is highly malleable, responding to signals from the outside world...

There's too much to quote, so it's worth reading the whole article, as well as two accompanying opinion pieces.