Irving E. Sigel
This book, titled Biology, Society, and Behavior: The Development of Sex Differences in Cognition, edited by Ann McGillicuddy-De Lisi and Richard De Lisi, is the 21st volume in the Applied Development Psychology series dedicated to an in-depth discussion of fundamental issues in the field of developmental psychology.
Sex differences is a topic of interest for researchers and practitioners working in the biological, behavioral, and educational sciences because the more we can fathom the nature of the inequities women receive at the hands of their male counterparts, the sooner we can address them. I hope that such understanding will lead to a recognition of the bases of differences and acceptance of them as part of the nature of human variability without negative attributions.
Differences are not just justification for irrational prejudice, but rather require a rational and egalitarian perspective where the whole person is accepted with differences being part of everyone's human condition. To come to such understanding first requires an attitude of respect for individuality as a value, and second, the need to understand the bases for the inherent variability among all living creatures. It is a difficult lesson to learn that sources of individual differences between men and women, the topic of this volume, are rooted in complex evolutionary, biological, and sociocultural history. The untangling of this mystery can only come about by studying the sources of the differences and the way they are manifested in different situations. Of course, to accomplish these understandings requires careful study and reflection as to the state of the research capabilities available to investigators. However, there is a basic requirement whenever studies of differences between groups are undertaken—to face squarely what are inherent biases among investigators.
In the case of research in male–female differences, it is legitimate to ask what stereotypical beliefs investigators might have about women. There is no reason to