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McGill Mini-Science 2013

Science, Sex and Gender

Thursday evenings, March 14 - April 11, 2013

Please note change of schedule: Prof. Barbara Sherwin will now give her talk on April 4 (instead of April 11), and Prof. Andrew Hendry will give his on April 11 (instead of April 4).

Chemistry, Love and Gender (March 14, 2013)

Speaker: Joe Schwarcz, Ph.D., Director, McGill Office for Science and Society [Dr Schwarcz's Wikipedia page]

This presentation features a lighthearted but scientific look at a topic of interest to all. The chemistry of the brain "in love" is examined, as well as the possible existence of aphrodisiacs and love potions. Chemical sex attractants in insects constitute the background to a discussion of possible analogues to these compounds in humans. This talk is of interest to anyone who ever has been, or ever plans to be "in love," as well as to anyone else.

A Gene Underlying Sexual Conflict in Insects (March 21, 2013)

Speaker: Prof. Ehab Abouheif (Department of Biology, McGill University [Professor Abouheif's webpage]

This lecture will show how sexual conflict or sexually antagonistic behaviour in insects can influence the evolution and elaboration of novel sexually dimorphic traits in distinct and potentially opposing ways.

"(S)he's Being Mean to Me": How Should Boys and Girls Respond to Aggression by Peers? (March 28, 2013)

Speaker: Prof. Melanie A. Dirks (Department of Psychology, McGill University) [Professor Dirks' webpage]

This lecture discusses ongoing work in Dr. Dirks' lab that examines how children respond to different types of peer aggression, how those responses are perceived by important people in their social worlds, and how the effectiveness of a given response may vary depending upon who is enacting it and when they do it. Implications for intervention programs targeting children's social functioning will also be discussed.

Hormones and Memory in Older Women and Men (April 4, 2013)

Speaker: Prof. Barbara Sherwin (Department of Psychology, McGill University) [Professor Sherwin's webpage]

This presentation focuses on research evidence which suggests that sex hormones influence aspects of cognitive functioning, particularly memory, in men and women. It will discuss the possible consequences of a reduction in the body's production of sex hormones with aging.

Sexual and Natural Selection - The Fist-fight in Nature (April 11, 2013)

Speaker: Prof. Andrew Hendry (Department of Biology, McGill University) [Professor Hendry's webpage]

Is it true that natural and sexual selection oppose each other? For instance, why should male peacocks have such large tails? Even Darwin noted this evolutionary puzzle: there are some traits of organisms that would seem to decrease their survival. This lecture will explore this situation using examples from Dr. Hendry's research from a variety of species.