The State of the Art:
If a girl was rough and strong, I'd feel like she was kind of mixed up in her wire connections. Because if a girl's brain was switched around and she had the brain of a boy, she would know how to control more muscle than a girl's brain—she would be strong. And a girl's brain would know how to use lips more than a boy's brain, you know, how to kiss [followed by laughter].
—Josh, age 6
The role of biological processes in gender differences is intriguing, but dismayingly inconsistent and inconclusive to date. In an effort to explore whether the biological processes associated with emotional functioning are gender-linked, studies have addressed gender differences in several biological structures and processes thought to mediate emotional expression. Most notably, these include the relationships among emotion, cerebral lateralization, and testosterone levels. Despite much publicity to the contrary in publications such as Newsweek (March 27, 1995), the role of gender in these brain-emotion relationships and processes is quite unclear (see Fausto-Sterling 1997).
A subtle and unsettling bias permeates much of this research, consisting of the idea that gender differences in brain organization must exist and will eventually be documented, despite the failure of all previous efforts to convincingly do so. For example, in his recent book, Left Brain, Right Brain, Iaccino (1993) reviews the inconsistent literature on gender and cerebral lateralization and reassures his readers: "The outcomes have not always been consistent ones, but this should not be a source of discouragement ..." (pp. 151). The message he conveys is that despite inconsistencies across studies, gender differences in cerebral lateraliza