Archive | December, 2012

A presentation at PESA 2012

10 Dec

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Nature vs. Nurture

10 Dec

TMspeechDec122ND
Is the Female Brain different from the Male Brain?

Nature vs. Nurture is a never ending philosophical debate. Nurture at its extreme is about Behaviorism, which is the belief that we come as blank slates and we are trained to do everything through the process of stimulations and responses. On the other hand, Nature is about Innatism, which believes that our behavior is the results of our natural ability given at the birth. Training is to realize what has been given to us at the birth. Training helps to develop our in-born capabilities.

If we don’t have the ability of doing a special thing at the birth, training for getting good at it will be useless. In Chinese, there is a doctrine for parenting based on this in-born quality of human beings:
Babies are categorized in three kinds:
First kind is the excellent ones, who need no adult’s supervision while growing up. Second kind is the good ones, who need the explicit adult’s supervision to become the excellent. The third is the kids who are problematic; neither “sticks” nor “carrots” would work for them while growing up. “Let them be themselves” is the only solution. They can only be “servants” at the bottom of the society.
I am talking about the traditional Chinese culture. Steve Jobs would be the typical example of the third kind of kids, who were a college dropout and who are the founder of Apply Computers.

The nature vs. nurture debate can be supported by the current studies under the domain of experimental psychology and psychophysics via observing the sensation, perception, and cognition in human beings.
Speaking of my own experience as a scientist, if we define the sensation and perception as the interface to our biological systems, the cognition will be the core of the biological systems. The acuteness of our sensation and perception decides the capability of our responses to our environment, which is the trigger to our decisions to act upon the environment changes accordingly.

The book “The Female Brain” came across to my attention serendipitously while I was getting books related to my research at WSU library. What a provocative title, I thought. Growing up in the culture that promotes, “women are equal to men;” and Marie Curie is the role model of all girls, my instant reaction is: “is there any difference between male brain and female brain?” If any, I want to know about them. As a result, I checked out the book to fulfill my own curiosity.

Reading this book is to check out how authors present research findings and interpret data as the results of scientific endeavors. Let me share my learning from the book with you. To me, everyone is an independent thinker; we can learn from data presented to us and derive our own conclusion.