The Waves

What’s Different About Women’s Brains?

Breaking down misconceptions about intelligence with author Emily Willingham.


Episode Notes

On this week’s episode of The Waves, Slate senior editor Shannon Palus is joined by author Emily Willingham. Emily’s new book The Tailored Brain: Feeling Better and Thinking Smarter is all about how our brains work and whether gender plays a role in brain enhancement. They talk about how to be more empathetic and the ways empathy can boost your brain, the importance of using a feminist lens in brain science, and the old theory that brains are made of sperm.

In the Slate Plus segment, Emily and Shannon talk about Emily’s other book, Phallacy: Life Lessons From the Animal Penis and explore why the duck vagina is like a gated community.


Shannon: Wearing perfume to turn your mood around.

Emily: Lightly meditating by beholding a tree.

Podcast production by Cheyna Roth with editorial oversight by Shannon Palus, Susan Matthews and June Thomas.

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About the Show

Each week a pair of writers and guests talk through one news story we can’t stop thinking about, and unpack what gender has to do with it.

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