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Museum quiz on whether one has a ‘male or female brain’ sparks outrage

By WITW Staff on September 15, 2016

An interactive exhibit at the Science Museum in London is facing criticism for providing a ‘sex-o-meter’ that determines whether one’s brain is more male or female. According to the museum’s ‘Who Am I’ exhibit, men are better “at seeing things in three dimensions” and “being able to imagine how things rotate,” whereas women are better at “distinguishing between subtle hints and details” and tasks that require “having a good visual memory.” Depending on how one responds to a series of questions that attempt to measure such qualities, the exhibit shows respondents how relatively male or female their responses are through the ‘sex-o-meter.’

After an image of the quiz was shared online, users on Twitter condemned the exhibit for reinforcing gender stereotypes. According to Joseph Devlin, the head of experimental psychology at University College London, the science itself wasn’t entirely accurate either. While noting that there are differences between male and female brains, Devlin said that the exhibit “grossly oversimplifies a complex topic.” According to recent studies, in fact, there are no real distinguishing patterns between male and female brains.

Alex Tyrell, the head of exhibitions and programs at the Science Museum, defended the exhibit in a blog post in which he said the exhibit was “designed to be tongue-in-cheek and provocative.” Tyrell added that some of the research used to create the display was over a decade old and that the museum would review the exhibit to ensure that the science was “up to date.”

Read the full story at CNN.


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