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The ‘Facts’ of Life?: How the notion of evolved brain differences between women and men naturalises biological accounts of Sex/Gender

Donaghue, N. (2015) The ‘Facts’ of Life?: How the notion of evolved brain differences between women and men naturalises biological accounts of Sex/Gender. Australian Feminist Studies, 30 (86). pp. 359-365.

Link to Published Version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/08164649.2016.1149904
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Abstract

Taken together, evolutionary psychology and neuroscience combine to provide a compelling heuristic account of sex/gender differences. In this article, I explore how the meta-theoretical framework provided by evolutionary psychology provides support for a reading of sex/gender effects in neuropsychological research that sees these as evidence of a ‘hardwired’ neurobiological basis for sex/gender. I discuss the resistance of these ‘hardwired’ accounts to arguments that—like other neuropsychological phenomena—sex/gender could be theorised in terms of experience-dependent neuroplasticity. I conclude that the evolutionary-neuropsychology heuristic obtains much of its appeal from the apparently ‘scientific’ evidence it provides for understanding sex/gender as a ‘natural’ rather than ‘sociocultural’ phenomenon—a view which is aligned with postfeminist ideologies of sex/gender in the contemporary west.

Publication Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Psychology and Exercise Science
Publisher: Taylor and Francis
Copyright: © 2016 Informa UK Limited
URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/30938
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