Susan Pinker can help you understand the opposite sex

What a perceptive family. Canadian psychologist Susan Pinker, the sister of eminent experimental psychologist Steven Pinker, has some thought-provoking theories on understanding the opposite sex. Bad news, though — it is harder than you thought.


Ms Pinker, 50, has spent the past two-and-half-years researching gender differences for her recently released debut book, The Sexual Paradox: Troubled boys, girls, gifted girls and the real differences between the sexes. In it, she reveals how fundamental sex differences influence male and female ambition and career choices.

“What surprised me was how girls tend to beat boys in school performance, yet when it comes to getting good corporate jobs, men outnumber women,” she tells People.

Working as a clinical psychologist for 25 years, Ms Pinker has taught at the department of education and counselling psychology at McGill University, where her older brother also went. “Steven and I share many interests, including psychology,” she says. “When I went into the field as an undergraduate with an interest in human development, he was also a student and was studying auditory perception. It’s hard to know the precise source of one’s influences, but I’d say we were both affected by a family where intellectual curiosity was prized.”

According to Ms Pinker’s research, men with dyslexia or behavioural disorder ADHD are 33 per cent more likely to become entrepreneurs than the general population. She also reveals how competition has different effects on men and women: “Boys run faster when running against others like themselves. Girls, however, run slower when they compete with other girls.”

Home is in Montreal, where she is a member of Dorshei emet synagogue.

    Last updated: 2:50pm, June 8 2008