An Interview with Cordelia Fine

Anna Lena Phillips

Psychologist and writer Cordelia Fine studies how our brains work and writes about the subject in clear and entertaining prose. Her first book, A Mind of Its Own: How Your Brain Distorts and Deceives (W. W. Norton and Co., 2006) was one of 12 books long-listed for the 2007 Royal Society Prize for Science Books. Her latest book, Delusions of Gender: How Our Minds, Society, and Neurosexism Create Difference (W. W. Norton and Co., 2010) critiques some neuroscientific research dealing with gender that is, Fine says, not only misleading but dangerous in its perpetuation of falsehoods and stereotypes. Other studies Fine discusses reveal how unconscious gender bias influences people’s behavior. Some of the book’s findings are downright discouraging, but Fine tempers these with sharp wit and a buoyant sense of humor. And her conclusions ultimately point to a hopeful future, in which both scientists and the public are better informed. The book, which will be out in paperback in August, was shortlisted for the 2010 John Llewellyn Rhys Prize and the 2011 Best Book of Ideas prize.

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