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Horizon: Is your brain Male of Female BBC2

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Horizon is an ongoing and long-running British documentary television series on BBC that covers science and philology.

This documentary featured in a series of documentaries all focusing on social questions and issues, such as ‘sugar vs fat’ and then the one I watched ‘Is your brain Male of Female’. I found it an incredibly interesting programme to watch, I felt it focused on a question that many people want to know the answer to making it more watchable to the everyday person.

Dr Michael Mosley and Professor Alice Roberts were the presenters on the episode and  to determine whether our brains are Male or Female and if they are really wired differently they conducted a number of experiments. For the first experiment they had a focus group of mixed ages, genders and races and put them through a number of test.  The first one being about spacial awareness, which overall the men come out with better scores, which is what was expected.  However the second test consisted of them being shown a number of actors speaking in giberish and they had to make a judgement of what emotion they were portraying  purely from there facial expressions and body langue, which on a whole the women succeed more in.  They then turned their focus to where it all starts, babies.

They spoke about how there’s the possibility that children are pressured and are given no choice but to play with the generic toys of their gender, however the parents disagreed.  Yet every boy would play with a truck or a car and the girls would play with dolls or  soft animals. To push their theory further they created another experiment. They placed a number of trucks and dolls into a monkey enclosure that contained male and female monkeys. The test they were constructing was to see if the male monkeys would be attracted to the boy’s toys and the females to the girl’s toys. The monkeys soon provided the evidence and it was interesting to see that the female monkeys had no interest in the boy’s toys but were fascinated by the girl’s toys and vice versa. It also spoke about how from a young age boys are expected to be capable at the more physical activities and are pressured into be being bette and more active. It also showed an experiment where a man and woman placed there hands in freezing cold water and the test was to see who had the stronger pain threshold. Which resulted in the males winning, again as they are expected to be able to be stronger and cope with it more. But what links this to the media is they created a focus group 15 year 11 students and spoke to them about why they think this divide of gender specific toys exists. What was interesting to see is that they all were linking it to the media and speaking about how it creates this divide subconsciously. About how in toy stores there is a clear divide with the boys side being painted blue and the girls pink with the toys in each side being totaly gender related.

When it comes to what I think and feel about the topic I am still very on the line. I find it interesting how even monkeys are able to show this divide, segregation and difference of the brains and how they work. However I do strongly think that the media heavily impacts the divide and over many years it has slowly weekend and the world is slowly becoming more equal, yet there will always be the divide no matter how hard we try to change it as its something that is very natural and its how are brains work.