#136 | Pink Brain Blue Brain: Gender, Small Differences, & Big Gaps w/ Lise Eliot

In this episode, I speak with Lise Eliot — Professor of Neuroscience at The Chicago Medical School of Rosalind Franklin University, and the author of ‘Pink Brain, Blue Brain: How Small Differences Grow into Troublesome Gaps and What We Can Do About It.’ 

In this interview, I tried to get to the root of what informs gender identity and its relationship to our biology, specifically regarding our neurology and brain development. The questions we explore in this episode include: What significant neurological differences exist between a “male” and “female” brain, especially at the time of birth? If differences exist, what role do these differences play in the development of individual traits -- traits that may be categorized culturally as either “female” or “male” in nature?  How much is the development of an individual's gender identity associated with cultural, rather than biological, factors? Along with these subject, we also delve into questions regarding transgender and childhood gender identity. Dr. Eliot's research and insight sheds a light on the complex interplay between biology, brain development, and culture on the development of gender identity and its connection, or lack thereof, to biological sex.  

Dr. Eliot’s research is centered on brain and gender development, especially the role of neuroplasticity in shaping neural circuitry and behavior. Her studies range from cellular neurophysiology to meta-analyses of brain sex difference and include two highly-praised trade books, ‘What's Going On in There? How the Brain and Mind Develop in the First Five Years of Life,’ and ‘Pink Brain, Blue Brain: How Small Differences Grow Into Troublesome Gaps.’ Through both empirical and scholarly research, Dr. Eliot analyzes the interplay between innate biology, sociocultural factors, and individual experience in molding our brains and behavior across the lifespan. She received an A.B. degree magna cum laude in History & Science from Harvard University, a Ph.D. in Cellular Physiology & Biophysics from Columbia University, and completed a post-doctoral fellowship in the Division of Neuroscience at Baylor College of Medicine. ⚧

⚧ Source: http://bit.ly/LiseEliot

Episode Notes:

- Learn more about Lise an her work at her website: http://www.liseeliot.com

- Learn more and purchase her book ‘Pink Brain, Blue Brain’ here: http://bit.ly/PinkBrainBlue

- Follow Lise on Twitter: https://twitter.com/Lise_Eliot

- What sparked my interest in Lise’s work was an article in The Atlantic titled ’Are Male and Female Brains Biologically Different?’ Read the piece here: http://bit.ly/2AAIGNt

- Watch and listen to Lise’s discuss her work at the 2018 Aspen Ideas Festival: https://youtu.be/lyfheYxPPL0

- The song featured in this episode is “Tired Boy” by Joey Pecoraro from the album Tired Boy.