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Crime and punishment


Differences between men and women
James Watson Scientist
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We know they are and I forget which, you know, when you get some emotional experience in a man the right amygdala lights up, and in a women the left. Why? And, you know, there's more connections between two sides of the brain in women than men. Women for this reason use both sides of the brain more than right-handed men, so they will recover from strokes better than right-handed men. And we know in testing things that men do a little better at mathematics, that women do better in verbal things. The IQs of boys and girls are both 100, because they've adjusted the test so that the strengths of women are countered by strengths in boys, so that it comes to the same. What they didn't do is equalize for the developmental age. Since boys develop slower than girls, if a boy has the same IQ at 12 as a girl does at 12, at 25 he'll probably have a higher IQ, but only by a couple of points. But I'm glad I belong to the sex which has the higher IQ, but it doesn't mean much, it compensates, you know, for the fact that I'm not Chinese. So, you know...

[Q] How important do you think it is in terms of women dropping out of the hierarchy at a fairly early stage in science and academia?

I think most people sort of say men are, sort of more naturally seek dominance over other people and as you go on in life it finally only functions if someone person's in charge. So, you know, it's not an absolute rule, shown by Mrs Thatcher. Boy, she... so it's not as if men are one way and women are the other, but it's been my observation that women tend to find more accommodation than men do and that probably, you know, it's not just an arbitrary thing, but it has some biological or genetic basis. But finding it won't make much difference, it's just, it's really how people behave and I don't think we can change that very much.

[Q] You can make a case that males are responsible for a lot of the problems in society and I think most people who study these things come to that conclusion. How do you...?

Yeah, well sure. I mean, you know, Stalin was a man, Hitler was a man. Yeah, so you could say all the real evils are due to men, but, you know, we did invent the telephone, the reaper, the chip, etc, so if men didn't exist would the human society have advanced at, would it have taken, you know, 100,000 years to happen what we've done in the last 10,000? Could be! So, I like leaders, because, you know, generally what I find wrong with most men is they have zero leadership ability and yet they're technically the leaders. So I'm all for any woman who'll be a leader, I'm just for more leaders. Right now we've sort of demonized leaders. That you really want to find consensus. But I generally find consensus in science. We just never move forward.

American molecular biologist James Dewey Watson is probably best known for discovering the structure of DNA for which he was jointly awarded the 1962 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine along with Francis Crick and Maurice Wilkins. His long career has seen him teaching at Harvard and Caltech, and taking over the directorship of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in New York. From 1988 to 1992, James Watson was head of the Human Genome Project at the National Institutes of Health. His current research focuses on the study of cancer.

Listeners: Martin Raff Walter Gratzer

Martin Raff is a Canadian-born neurologist and research biologist who has made important contributions to immunology and cell development. He has a special interest in apoptosis, the phenomenon of cell death.



Listen to Martin Raff at Web of Stories



Walter Gratzer is Emeritus Professor of Biophysical Chemistry at King's College London, and was for most of his research career a member of the scientific staff of the Medical Research Council. He is the author of several books on popular science. He was a Postdoctoral Fellow at Harvard and has known Jim Watson since that time

Duration: 5 minutes, 17 seconds

Date story recorded: November 2008 and October 2009

Date story went live: 18 June 2010