This book is the outcome of a series of discussions held from 1962 to 1965 at Stanford University on the development of sex differences. Each of five main chapters attempts to present differences between the sexes as dependent primarily upon a single set of factors: Hamburg and Lunde, biology and hormones; Maccoby, intellectual functioning; Mischel, social-learning; Kohlberg, cognitive-development; D’Andrade, culture.
While the compilation of these several views and their attendant data should provide a useful and needed source for workers in this complicated field, the book is a disappointment for several reasons. The diversity of viewpoints which are presented is extremely limited The value of other possible approaches might have been seen in better perspective had some of the actual discussion been chosen for inclusion (there was three years’ worth of discussion from which to choose). Even the readily apparent, theoretically opposite approaches of Mischel and Kohlberg are not brought close to resolution nor the reasons for the disparity made clear.
The crucial problem of what need be measured to determine M-F characters was cogently brought up by Hamburg and Lunde and emphasized by Dornbusch in his valuable (sociologically oriented) synthesis in the Afterword. Not only is there a relationship of M-F measurement scales to existing social and cultural patterns, but it should have also been noted that, without justification, most measures consider masculinity and femininity as two ends of a single continuum rather than as possibly separate and/or discontinuous sets of behavior patterns. Were this latter factor considered, much of the controversy regarding the gender-behavior inconsistencies and conflicts might be resolved, since an individual need not be expected to be gender consistent in divergent behavior traits and those in which consistency was seen might be adapted as the only “universally” valid means of M-F measurement.
The book surprisingly omits a wealth of material on primary sexual behavior per se and, except for the chapter by Hamburg and Lunde and a few other references, omits non-human animal data. These omissions not only would seem to disadvantage the authors by removing some of the best data from the field of contention, but also do the reader a disservice by not calling this. material to his attention.
More than one-third of the book is filled with an Annotated Bibliography and Classified Tabulature of papers dealing with sex differences. While this would serve as a ready reference, its utility is limited since no guide is given to the criteria for inclusion of papers. Many useful and pertinent papers are noticeably missing, e.g., there are no papers by the Hampsons, Mead, Money, or W.C. Young and there is only one reference from Beach or Whiting. Several non-human references are given but these are essentially unrepresented and, as in the text, significantly missing are papers dealing with primary sexual behavior.
Last, and definitely not least, the book suffers from the lack of a Foreword, Introduction, and Index.
The book will no doubt get wide distribution since it fulfills a need in bringing together material from widely scattered sources. I suspect, however, it will be picked up with enthusiasm but laid down with disappointment; not because of what was done so much as what was not done.