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The Female Brainby M.D. Louann Brizendine
Synopses & Reviews
The Birth of the Female Brain
Leila was a busy little bee, flitting around the playground, connecting with the other children whether or not she knew them. On the verge of speaking in two- and three-word phrases, she mostly used her contagious smile and emphatic nods of her head to communicate, and communicate she did. So did the other little girls. Dolly, said one. Shopping, said another. There was a pint-size community forming, abuzz with chatter, games, and imaginary families.
Leila was always happy to see her cousin Joseph when he joined her on the playground, but her joy never lasted long. Joseph grabbed the blocks she and her friends were using to make a house. He wanted to build a rocket, and build it by himself. His pals would wreck anything that Leila and her friends had created. The boys pushed the girls around, refused to take turns, and would ignore a girl's request to stop or give the toy back. By the end of the morning, Leila had retreated to the other end of the play area with the girls. They wanted to play house quietly together.
Common sense tells us that boys and girls behave differently. We see it every day at home, on the playground, and in classrooms. But what the culture hasn't told us is that the brain dictates these divergent behaviors. The impulses of children are so innate that they kick in even if we adults try to nudge them in another direction. One of my patients gave her three-and-a-half-year-old daughter many unisex toys, including a bright red fire truck instead of a doll. She walked into her daughter's room one afternoon to find her cuddling the truck in a baby blanket, rocking it back and forth saying, Don't worry, little truckie, everything will be all right.
This isn't socialization. This little girl didn't cuddle her truckie because her environment molded her unisex brain. There is no unisex brain. She was born with a female brain, which came complete with its own impulses. Girls arrive already wired as girls, and boys arrive already wired as boys. Their brains are different by the time they're born, and their brains are what drive their impulses, values, and their very reality.
The brain shapes the way we see, hear, smell, and taste. Nerves run from our sense organs directly to the brain, and the brain does all the interpreting. A good conk on the head in the right place can mean that you won't be able to smell or taste. But the brain does more than that. It profoundly affects how we conceptualize the world--whether we think a person is good or bad, if we like the weather today or it makes us unhappy, or whether we're inclined to take care of the day's business. You don't have to be a neuroscientist to know this. If you're feeling a little down and have a nice glass of wine or a lovely piece of chocolate, your attitude can shift. A gray, cloudy day can turn bright, or irritation with a loved one can evaporate because of the way the chemicals in those substances affect the brain. Your immediate reality can change in an instant.
If chemicals acting on the brain can create different realities, what happens when two brains have different structures? There's no question that their realities will be different. Brain damage, strokes, prefrontal lobotomies, and head injuries can change what's important to a person. They can even change one's personality from aggressive to meek or from kind
The founder of the first clinic in the country to study and treat women's brain functions provides a truly comprehensive look at the way women's minds work, combining two decades of research, real-life stories, and all of the latest information from the scientific community at large. Reprint. 75,000 first printing.
Why are women more verbal than men? Why do women remember details of fights that men can’t remember at all? Why do women tend to form deeper bonds with their female friends than men do with their male counterparts? These and other questions have stumped both sexes throughout the ages.
Now, pioneering neuropsychiatrist Louann Brizendine, M.D., brings together the latest findings to show how the unique structure of the female brain determines how women think, what they value, how they communicate, and who they love. While doing research as a medical student at Yale and then as a resident and faculty member at Harvard, Louann Brizendine discovered that almost all of the clinical data in existence on neurology, psychology, and neurobiology focused exclusively on males. In response to the overwhelming need for information on the female mind, Brizendine established the first clinic in the country to study and treat women’s brain function.
In The Female Brain, Dr. Brizendine distills all her findings and the latest information from the scientific community in a highly accessible book that educates women about their unique brain/body/behavior.
The result: women will come away from this book knowing that they have a lean, mean, communicating machine. Men will develop a serious case of brain envy.
About the Author
, M.D., a neuropsychiatrist at the University of California, San Francisco, is the founder of the Women’s and Teen Girls’ Mood and Hormone Clinic. She was previously on faculty at the Harvard Medical School and is a graduate of the Yale University School of Medicine and the University of California, Berkeley, in neurobiology. She lives in the San Francisco Bay area with her husband and son.
Table of Contents
Introduction : what makes us women — 1. The birth of the female brain — 2. Teen girl brain — 3. Love and trust — 4. Sex : the brain below the belt — 5. The mommy brain — 6. Emotion : the feeling brain — 7. The mature female brain — Epilogue. The future of the female brain — Appendix A. The female brain and hormone therapy — Appendix B. The female brain and postpartum depression — Appendix C. The female brain and sexual orientation.
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