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The Female Brain (book)

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The Female Brain
First edition
AuthorLouann Brizendine
PublisherMorgan Road Books
Publication date
Media typePrint (hardcover)
Pages187, 210 including notes.
612.8 22
LC ClassQP376 .B755 2006

The Female Brain is a book written by the American neuropsychiatrist Louann Brizendine in 2006. The main thesis of the book is that women's behavior is different from that of men due, in large measure, to hormonal differences. Brizendine says that the human female brain is affected by the following hormones: estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, oxytocin, neurotransmitters (dopamine, serotonin), and that there are differences in the architecture of the brain (prefrontal cortex, hypothalamus, amygdala) that regulate such hormones and neurotransmitters.


The Female Brain has seven chapters, each one of which is dedicated to a specific part of a woman's life, such as puberty, motherhood, and menopause, or a specific dimension of a women's emotional life, such as feelings, love and trust, and sex. The book also includes three appendices on hormone therapy, postpartum depression, and sexual orientation.


The book sold well but received mixed reviews because a number of journalists, popular science writers, and scientists questioned the validity of some of the content.

Some of the authors that supported the content of the book include:

  • Deborah Tannen, of The Washington Post[1] Tannen writes, "Throughout the book, I recognized biological accounts for social behaviors I had observed and written about." In a similar vein, she adds, "Anthropologists and linguists who have studied children at play have noted that girls form bonds by telling secrets. Here, too, Brizendine finds 'a biological reason.'" Her ultimate position is one of cautionary endorsement: "Ideally, readers will sift through the case studies, research findings and scientific conjectures gathered in this non-technical book and be intrigued by some while questioning others, bearing in mind the caution that hormones and brain structure play a role in gender differences but are not the whole story."
  • Sarah Hrdy, author of Mother Nature
  • Daniel Goleman, journalist and author of Emotional Intelligence

Some of the authors that criticized the content of the book include:

Brizendine was given the tongue-in-cheek 2006 Becky Award, for "outstanding contributions to linguistic misinformation".[8] The award cited errors in The Female Brain, including one sentence (removed from subsequent printings) which contrasted the number of words used by men and women in one day. The numbers had been taken from a book by a self-help guru and were incorrect.[9]

In other media[edit]

The Female Brain was loosely adapted as a romantic comedy movie of the same name in 2017. Brizendine served as the inspiration for the film's main character.[10]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ 'A Brain of One's Own'. The Washington Post August 20, 2006.
  2. ^ "Evan Balaban". Department of Psychology. Retrieved 2022-12-24.
  3. ^ Young, Rebecca M.; Balaban, Evan (12 October 2006). "Psychoneuroindoctrinology". Nature. 443 (7112). Nature Publishing Group: 634. Bibcode:2006Natur.443..634Y. doi:10.1038/443634a. Pdf.
    Evan Balaban and Rebecca M. Young called The Female Brain a "melodrama" "riddled with scientific errors" and "fail[ing] to meet even the most basic standards of scientific accuracy and balance" and that "human sex differences are elevated almost to the point of creating different species, yet virtually all differences in brain structure, and most differences in behaviour, are characterized by small average differences and a great deal of male–female overlap at the individual level".
  4. ^ Fine, Cordelia (2010). Delusions of Gender: How Our Minds, Society, and Neurosexism Create Difference. W. W. Norton & Company, 2010.
  5. ^ How different are male and female brains? (from Wayback Machine)
  6. ^ Henig, Robin Marantz (10 September 2006). "How Women Think (Published 2006)". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 2018-11-16.
  7. ^ Liberman, Mark (17 September 2006). "David Brooks, Neuroendocrinologist". upenn.edu/~myl/languagelog. Mark Liberman. Retrieved 19 August 2017.
    List of Liberman's other posts on Louann Brizendine's The Female Brain at bottom of web page.
  8. ^ 2006 Becky Award
  9. ^ "The Language of Eve", Geoffrey Nunberg, January 3, 2007
  10. ^ Roznovsky, Nicholas (27 June 2017). "'The Female Brain' movie premieres in Los Angeles". UCSF Psychiatry News. UCSF Department of Psychiatry. Retrieved 5 July 2017.

External links[edit]