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Books, Journals, New Media
August 25, 2004


Author Affiliations

Books, Journals, New Media Section Editor: Harriet S. Meyer, MD, Contributing Editor, JAMA; David H. Morse, MS, University of Southern California, Norris Medical Library, Journal Review Editor.

JAMA. 2004;292(8):981. doi:10.1001/jama.292.8.981-a

Differences between men and women, boys and girls, and male and female animals have been classically described as "gender differences" for socially determined factors and "sex differences" for biologically based factors. After reading Brain Gender, by Melissa Hines, one will recognize that these distinctions are essentially meaningless.

Dr Hines possesses impressive expertise in genetic, biological, behavioral, and social determinants of sex differences, and evinces cogent analytical and empirical skills and clarity of thought. Her book examines what is known vs what is thought about important areas of basic and clinical theory and research and social thought. She unites highly disparate, often independent fields of investigation: genomic through phenotypic links to sex differences, gonadal hormone roles in normal sexual development and other adjunctive behaviors, classes of endocrine and receptor dysfunction resulting in either opposite or ambiguous phenotypes relative to genotype, and basic animal model research on sex-specific behaviors. She then reviews sex differences and the roles of gonadal hormones in human sexuality, human play and aggression, human parenting behaviors, and human cognition. The concluding chapters evaluate sex differences in the human brain and the clinical and social implications of this research for future directions in the field.