Gender Differen ces in Human Cogn ition .
By P. J. Caplan , M. Crawford, J.
S. Hyde, J. T. E. Richardson ,
New York: Oxford Unive rsity Pre ss, 1997,
169 page s, Pb $19.95.
As profe ssionals we sometimes get an opportunity to e ngage in a task that
has the pote ntial either to be a drudge and a struggle or to be truly inte l-
lectually stimulating. Fortunate ly for this reviewer, Caplan, Crawford, Hyde ,
s thoroughly re searche d and engagingly pre se nte d book fits
the latter task de scription!
For those who are interested in the study of gende r issue s, it has been
a long wait for a book as provocative and enlighte ning as Maccoby and
s critical work,
The Psychology of Sex Differences (1974)
. As a re -
searche r who has reference d Maccoby and Jacklin ove r the years it is a
welcome occasion to conside r the ir important book in a historical and so-
cial-political conte xt, and to le arn about the many studie s that have exam-
ine d the comple x are a of
since that time .
The pre face and first chapter of
G ender Differences in Hum an Cogni-
, both written by Richardson, are tantalizing introductions. The reade r
knows, without a doubt, that the chapte rs that follow will provide both
information of vital importan ce to our unde rstanding of ge nde r and
thought, and ammunition to addre ss the various infe rences (of que stionable
validity) drawn from a body of rese arch that re mains controversial. These
infe re nce s encompass many are as including inte llige nce, giftedne ss, apti-
tude s, attributions, motivation and, of course, mathe matics, science and
Richardson cle arly de line ate s the historical background,
rese arch issues, and various the oretical perspectives that lay the foundation
for re mainde r of the book. These two sections, succinct and informative ,
contain enough of a
for the re ade r to realize that the debate re -
garding ge nde r diffe rence s in cognition will rage well be yond the con-
straints and param e ters of an y one particular acade mic e nde avor.
Particularly notice able were implicit argume nts relate d to social and politi-
cal definitions of requisite be haviors for females and males, issue s of power,
and the ever-pre sent nature /nurture controve rsy.
Sex Roles, Vol. 39, Nos. 11/12, 1998
1998 Plenum Publishing Corporation