Horizon: Is Your Brain Male or Female? BBC2 - TV review


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The Independent Culture

Good to see television's most daredevil self-experimenter has finally met his match.

In Horizon: Is Your Brain Male or Female? (BBC2), Michael Mosley was pitted against co-presenter Prof Alice Roberts as they tested out their contradictory theories on gender difference in the brain. As it stands, science concedes that men are generally better at tasks such as map reading, while women excel at all that feelings stuff, but what is the explanation for these differences?

In the blue corner was Mosley, who believed in something innate, and re-created a famous experiment involving monkeys and toy trucks to prove his point. In the pink corner was Prof Roberts, who thought behaviour differences were learned. She had a worrying conversation with a mixed-gender group of teens who all believed women couldn't be scientists because, they said, the TV had told them so.

Happily, in this programme at least, there were several impressive female scientists on hand to prove otherwise, not least Roberts herself, whose arguments I found most convincing. Although that could just be because I'm a woman.