Roslyn Holly Fitch (1995) From Behavior to Hormones to Axons, a big Leap. Psycoloquy: 6(43) Sex Brain (9)

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PSYCOLOQUY (ISSN 1055-0143) is sponsored by the American Psychological Association (APA).
Psycoloquy 6(43): From Behavior to Hormones to Axons, a big Leap

Reply to Fidelman on Sex-Brain

Roslyn Holly Fitch
Center for Molecular and Behavioral Neuroscience
Rutgers University
197 University Ave.
Newark, NJ 07102

Victor H. Denenberg
Biobehavioral Sciences Graduate Degree Program
University of Connecticut
Storrs, CT 06269-4154


Fidelman (1995) proposes that developmental gender differences in performance on specific behavioral tasks may reflect developmental hormone effects on callosal connectivity patterns. We question whether the data presented support this leap.


corpus callosum, development, estrogen, feminization, ovaries, sensitive period.
1. We admit to some difficulty making the connection between Fidelman's commentary (Fidelman, 1995) and our target article (Fitch & Denenberg, 1995). We also express some reservations about the methodology employed by Fidelman. First, the assumption that specific behavioral tests can provide discrete assessment of "right hemisphere" and "left hemisphere" functions rests wholly on the validity of strictly delineated roles for the two hemispheres, particularly since dichotic auditory or tachistiscopic visual presentation of stimuli was not employed. Yet considerable controversy surrounds this area, and universal agreement on discrete hemispheric functional specialization has by no means been reached. We also express some reservation about treating multiple scores from each subject as independent observations, as required for use of the binomial test. Finally, we feel it necessary to reaffirm that speculations about callosal development and patterns of axonal projection drawn from behavioral tests must be regarded as highly speculative.

2. None of this criticism is directed at Fidelman's Piagetian research as such, an area where we claim no expertise. However, we do feel compelled to question the link between Fidelman's assertions and those put forth regarding the role of ovarian hormones in the feminization process (Fitch & Denenberg, 1995).


Fidelman, U. (1995) Cerebral Hemispheres, Sex and Piaget Stages. PSYCOLOQUY 6(31) sex-brain.6.fidelman.

Fitch, R.H. & Denenberg, V. (1995) A Role For Ovarian Hormones In Sexual Differentiation of the Brain. PSYCOLOQUY 6(5) sex-brain.1.fitch.

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