back to article UK Science Museum will reconsider its 'sexist' brain quiz

The Science Museum in London has announced it will reconsider its exhibition on sex and gender – after it faced criticism over a quiz that tested whether a brain was male or female. Located on the first floor, Who Am I? is a permanent gallery that has been in the museum over 15 years. The exhibition explores the underlying …

The strongest claim I can immediately find about spatial awareness is that men are 1 standard deviation better than women. That's a long way from "nearly all men are better than nearly all women", or even from "nearly all men are better than the average woman".

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Every actually scientific study that I've found seems to indicate that any differences in cognitive process between the genders is purely based on the stereotypical activities that are pressed on children. In Western societies, girls are strongly encouraged (and sometimes forced) to only play with toys that focus on caring and interpersonal relationships (Such as caring for baby dolls or imagining interaction between adult dolls); such play is practice for communicating later in life and builds a much stronger sense of empathy. One the other side, boys are encouraged to play with building blocks and other toys where the focus is on hard-logic, which leads to increased spacial reasoning skills.

There are no differences in how brains work between genders, only what we teach them and condition them to do.

This is proven by study of other societies where there is little to no stereotyping of what is 'girly' and what is 'manly'. This is also noticed in societies were the gender roles are completely reversed. In the societies in which there was no gender bias for activities or behavior, there was no difference between genders when measuring logic or interpersonal skills. In societies in which the roles were reversed from Western standards, the men showed greater levels of empathy than the women, who demonstrated increased numeracy and spacial reasoning.

It almost seems like skills and abilities are based off of training and developing those over a long time, where differences are due to non-gender-specific genetic predilections that may aid or detract in a person's ability to perform a certain task. Almost like humans are complex creatures that can't be described in general and broad-stroke statements...

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Nature or nurture?

Recent research at Indiana found that playing with building blocks activates areas of the brain involved with spacial awareness. Could some of the gender-based differences be simply down to the fact that boys generally play more with building blocks and similar toys than girls?

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/09/160913134518.htm

http://journal.frontiersin.org/article/10.3389/fpsyg.2016.01278/full

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If this were true, nobody would be transgender, but such people do exist. And where people have tried to bring up children in a gender neutral environment, most children will rebel and play with their toys in a gender typical way, eg girls will have their soldiers attend tea parties and boys will have their dolls fighting battles.

I'm pretty good at the spatial awareness stuff, better than most boys, but in most respects, I'm very definitely a girl, albeit a soft-butch lesbian. If you are considering whether or not an individual will be good at a particular task, looking at their gender won't always give you the right answer, but on average, you will get more of one than the other.

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Criticising the Science Museum?

This woman should be at home looking after her babies and cooking dinner for her husband.

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Joke

Gender Stereotyping...

Obviously, this exhibit was designed by a man. If it had been the product of a female brain, the colours would have been fuschia and lilac.

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FAIL

Holy ever-lovin' shit...

The test told me I was female. And anybody who knows me tends to say I shop like a girl. But, you know, a quick look between my legs and pretty much sort out that nonsense.

But this isn't the story here. Pink brain, blue brain, who cares? It isn't as if a mere four questions is going to determine anything anyway.

No, the story here is that El Reg linked to a bloody FLASH file. In 2016! I had to go fire up my old PC just to be able to do something with it.

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Re: Holy ever-lovin' shit...

So your brain doesn't match what's between your legs, either in terms of your performance in this test or your shopping habits. This does happen, and it doesn't have to mean you feel the need to get genital remodelling surgery.

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Re: Holy ever-lovin' shit...

And anybody who knows me tends to say I shop like a girl. But, you know, a quick look between my legs and pretty much sort out that nonsense.

Don't worry, I'm sure the gender police will be along shortly to change your transgressive behaviour/poorly-matched genitals.

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Its obvious that women have different abilities in spatial awareness from men.

To a man six inches is always six inches, but to a woman its a variable distance. For instance when parking women always think six inches is a foot, while in bed its the other way round.

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Happy

When a constant isn't

"To a man six inches is always six inches, ..."

Except when it relates to that one that got away while you were fishing.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: When a constant isn't

The one I was always told by my old dear was "why can't women park?"

"Because they're always being told that this *hold fingers 3 inches apart* is six inches"

For the modern easily upset lot the joke is two fold both accepting the parking joke and also saying that men always say they're penis is six inches long.

I thought I should explain given how easily excited everyone is nowadays.

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Exhibit A

Looking through this comment thread and I can clearly see why there is a such a massive gender gap in the technology industry.

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Re: Exhibit A

That would be because you read the posts where people have pointed out that there are gender differences in cognition.

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Whut?

Mint asked if I wanted to download the file or play it with videos... so I downloaded it and then tried to open it in Firefox and I was asked if I wanted to download the file or play it with videos... I guess I'll just have to accept my gender as being a Beardie with Body Odour and Crusty Socks.

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Trollface

Whether your brain is more pink or blue would mostly depend on...

...if I have finished draining it of blood yet.

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Ooh, another buzzword change

"Out of date" - is that the new euphemism intended to replace the now old-fashioned "Triggering", which had so long ago replaced the appallingly stone-aged "Offensive"?

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Alert

I believe some women like the colour pink

I've yet to see a man driving a pink Volkswagen Beetle, Honda Civic, Nissan Micra, Fiat 500 etc.

Or a man driving a car with heart, snowflake, fairy etc decals. Or eyelashes for that matter.

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Re: I believe some women like the colour pink

My brother a very masculine builder bought an Essex Girl Ford Escort Cabriolet for his wife, uprated the engine, suspension,re-upholstered the interior and painted it pink with a white rag top. His wife would'nt give up her Golf so because the car performed so well after all he had done to it, he kept it.

He was always getting people of both sexes asking him to sell it but he kept it for about 15 years, I'm not sure if he actually liked the colour but he stuck with it for a long time.

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Re: I believe some women like the colour pink

theres a good reason for driving a car that unique............no-one is ever going to steal it

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Re: I believe some women like the colour pink

@The Prof. You are just in the wrong era. Virgin-Mary-blue used to be considered the appropriately feminine colour and Toned-Down-Blood-pink the masculine one. Then some royal mis-guessed the gender of their child-to-arrive and it was (apparently) easier to change the culture than repaint the baby's bedroom suite.

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Tongue in Cheek !!

How wonderful for teachers to be able to claim "No, I wasn't serious; couldn't you tell my tongue was in my cheek"

Just think about the wider applications of that reasoning, and then send your protest to the Science Museum!

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Sterotypes

Oh no, cliched gender stereotypes inj an old exhibit, woeful.

Though, ironically the twitter handle of ExtremeCrochet seems to be almost the Platonic form of female cliche usernames

Maybe if our museums got a lot more money they could update their exhibits and be less reliant on "special exhibitions" (non free unlike "normal" exhibits) to raise a bit of cash.

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Facepalm

Surely the point is that the "fun game" is just stupid. Stupid doesn't really belong in something purporting to be a museum of science. If they actually wanted to know what colour your brain was in a educational scientific setting then a tour guide trained in trepanning should be provided. The education starts with the fact that trepanning is the oldest known surgical procedure. After that a simple torch in the hole and compare to a standard colour chart and bob's your uncle.

A warning should also be added if an air of tongue-in-cheekness is required, "may release demons" as this seems to have been a common usage of this procedure. I say tongue-in-cheek as everyone knows demons don't live in the brain, they prefer the stomach.

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[Ignores main issue]

They've got the Venus/female symbol the wrong way up on their feedback page.

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Need more data....

It could have been interesting if it had also asked the player what they actually were.

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TWB

After doing the test...

I seem to have the wrong body, or the wrong brain....

Actually one thing I don't understand about the World, is that girls seem to be way ahead of boys when they are young, so why don't women run everything? (or do they?.....)

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Re: After doing the test...

Probably an education system and religion all telling them that boys are better, girls suck[1], etc.

1 - don't even think about hitting reply if it's to point out something smutty here... :)

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http://explosm.net/comics/95/

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