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科学发现:“男人不是来自火星,女人也并非来自金星”

2014-09-11    来源:chinadaily    【      美国外教 在线口语培训

Science losing out to 'men are from Mars and women from Venus' myth

Science is losing out because of the mistaken belief that "men are from Mars and women from Venus", a leading neuroscientist has claimed.

Professor Gina Rippon said it was time to debunk the myth that gender differences are hard-wired into our brains.

In reality, there was no significant difference between the brains of a girl and boy in terms of their structure and function, she stressed.

But experiences and even attitudes could change the "plastic" brain on a physical level, causing its wiring to alter.

It was this that led girls and boys from an early age to head in different directions, said Prof Rippon, from Aston University.

While girls tended to gravitate towards fields of communication, people skills and the arts, boys were more likely to become scientists and engineers.

Even when girls went into science, they mostly chose careers at the "softer" end of the subject, such as biology, psychology and sociology, rather than physics and maths.

Speaking ahead of this year's British Science Festival, taking place at the University of Birmingham next week, Prof Rippon said: "We're stuck in the 19th century model of the 'vacuum packed' brain, the idea that we're born with a brain that gives us certain skills and behaviours.

"The brain doesn't develop in a vacuum.
"What we now know is that the brain is much more affected by stereotypes in the environment and attitudes in the environment, and that doesn't just change behaviour, it changes the brain."

Last year, 5,000 boys in the UK completed Level 3 engineering apprenticeships, but only 40 girls, Prof Rippon pointed out.

Boys taking physics A level also vastly outnumbered girls.

But Prof Rippon insisted this was nothing to do with innate differences in the way the brains of girls and boys worked.

Rather, it was likely to be the result of their brains being altered by experience.

One of the most often quoted examples of gender difference is spatial ability - the ability to understand the relationships between different objects in space.

Boys are said to be naturally more spatially gifted.

But if girls aged six to eight are given the tile-matching puzzle game Tetris, their brain wiring changes and their spatial ability improves, Prof Rippon said.

She added: “It's quite clear that spatial cognition is very much involved with experience, whether or not you have experience of manipulating objects as opposed to just observing them.

"This goes back to 'toys for boys'.
"From a very early age, boys have a lot more experience with manipulating objects."

Research had shown that as women attained greater access to education and power, gender differences began to disappear.

Prof Rippon was also dismissive of evolutionary psychologists who claimed the way men and women thought was largely the result of natural selection.

"The idea that women like the colour pink because it made them better able to pick berries - it's nonsense," she said.

Ill-conceived attempts to "fix" the problem of girls not going into science were likely to backfire, Prof Rippon argued.

One infamous example of this was the European Commission's Science Is A Girl Thing video released in 2012 which was swiftly dropped "because it was so awful".


"It showed girls in lab coats testing lipstick and giggling a lot," Prof Rippon said.
She added: "Science is something everybody should engage with.
"Let's not make science girly.
"Let's make science interesting to anyone."

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来自英国阿斯顿大学的里彭教授说,由于被“男人来自火星,女人来自金星”的信仰所误导,科学正蒙受损失。

吉娜·里彭(Gina Rippon)教授说,是时候揭穿性别差异在我们大脑根深蒂固的神话了。

她强调,事实上从大脑的结构和功能上看,男生和女生并无明显差别。

但经历甚至态度能在物理等级上改变“可塑造的”大脑,引起它的结构变化。

这就是导致男女生从早期开始向不同方向发展的因素,来自英国阿斯顿大学的教授Rippon说道。

女孩倾向于人际关系技巧和艺术所吸引的时候,男孩更倾向于成为科学家和工程师。

即便女生进入科学领域,她们更多选择类似生物、心理学和社会学这样“较浅显”的学科,而非数学或物理。

今年的英国科技节将于下周在伯明翰大学举办,在此之前里彭教授说,“我们被19世纪‘真空包装’的大脑模式所困,即我们在出生时大脑就有相应的技能和行为。”

“大脑并非在真空之中发展。”
“我们现在知道的是,大脑更容易被环境中的固有陈规和态度影响,它们并没有改变行为,而是改变了大脑。”

里彭教授指出,去年完成了英国3级工程师学徒制的男生多达5000名,但女生只有40名。

取得物理学高分的男生也比女生多得多。

但里彭教授坚称这与男女生先天的大脑工作机制差异并无关系。

相反,它更像是大脑被经历所改变的结果。

举一个屡见不鲜的例子,性别的差异体现在空间能力——一种理解空间中不同物体间关系的能力上。

据说男生天生就在空间能力方面有才华。

但里彭教授说,若女生在6岁时能接触俄罗斯方块这样的益智拼图游戏,她们的大脑架构将得到改变,她们的空间能力也会提高。

她还说:“很明显空间认知和经历是息息相关的,无论你是否有操控物体或仅仅是观察它们的经验。”

“这可以追溯到‘男孩的玩具’上。”
“男孩子们从很小的时候,就富有操控物体的经验。”

研究表明随着女生有更好的受教育和获得权力的机会,性别差异正在消失。
里彭教授也很不屑理会那些演化心理学家,他们宣称男性和女性思维大部分是自然选择的结果。

“女性喜欢粉色是因为这让她们更擅长挑选浆果,这种观点简直荒唐。”她说。
妄图“修正”女生不去进入科学界的尝试看来即将破产,里彭教授辩称。

这里有一个声名狼藉的例子,2012年所发布的一个视频——欧洲委员会科学部是女人干的活,它很快就下线了,因为“它真的很糟糕。”

“视频里的女孩们穿着实验室的大衣测试口红,咯咯笑个不停,”里彭教授说。
她还说:“每个人都该接触科学。”
“别把科学变成少女。”
“要让每个人都对科学感兴趣。”


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