Two-year-old Suzy loves pink and princesses and John loves war games and G.I. Joe. Did they learn that behavior or is there a fundamental difference in how their brains developed?

If you’ve ever asked yourself the nature vs. nurture question when it comes to development, then you will not want to miss West Virginia University’s 11th annual Women’s Studies Residency in honor of Judith Gold Stitzel.

Lise Eliot, Ph.D., associate professor of neuroscience at the Chicago Medical School, will present “Pink Brain, Blue Brain: Truth & Fiction about Sex Differences.” The public lecture is on Wednesday, Feb. 16, from 7-8:30 p.m. in G-24 Eiesland Hall. The event is free and open to the public. A reception will follow.

Eliot’s research bridges the social and physical sciences in her groundbreaking work on gender stereotypes and the brain. She analyzes the differences in boys’ and girls’ brains, arguing that infant brains develop with what begins as small differences at birth and become augmented over time as parents and teachers and society as a whole reinforce gender stereotypes. By realizing how sex differences emerge, Eliot provides parents and teachers ways to help close gender gaps.

Eliot received her Ph.D. in physiology and cellular biophysics from Columbia University in 1991. From 1991 to 1994, she trained as a postdoctoral fellow at Baylor College of Medicine, working on the mechanisms of calcium influx in hippocampal neurons. She currently directs the Interdepartmental Ph.D. Program in Neuroscience at Chicago Medical School.

Her publications include more than 50 works on topics in neuroscience, biophysics and biomedical research ethics. She is the author of two books, “What’s Going on in There? How the Brain and Mind Develop in the First Five Years of Life,” and her latest, “Pink Brain, Blue Brain: How Small Differences Grow into Troublesome Gaps and What We Can Do About It.”

The visit by Lise Eliot is co-sponsored by the WVU Eberly College of Arts and Sciences, ADVANCE Center, Center for Neuroscience, Department of Psychology, National Center of Excellence in Women’s Health and the Division of Sociology and Anthropology, and, in addition to the public lecture, will include classroom visits and informal meetings with faculty and students. She will be on campus from Feb. 14-17.

The residency program started in 1999 as an opportunity for members of the women’s studies community to learn from and interact with visiting scholars and activists. This program was initiated through the generosity of Suzanne Temple, and more recently Carrie Koeturius, who provided support to the residency in honor of Judith Gold Stitzel, founder of the Women’s Studies Program and of the Center for Women’s Studies at WVU.

For more information about this event please contact Ann Oberhauser at or 304-293-2339 ext. 1155.


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