Male Brains...

Stephen Black sblack at UBISHOPS.CA
Wed Aug 6 14:09:44 EST 1997

On 6 Aug 1997, James Woodson wrote:

> Einstein's brain was remarkably small.  (People were shocked to find this!)
> Later, research by the Scheibel's on Einstein's cortex demonstrated
> increased dendritic density in comparison to control brains from "normal"
> dead people.

I definitely do _not_ want to get into this argument about number of 
neurons in male and female brains but I strongly suspect that the claim 
that Einstein's brain was small is folklore, not fact. 

Moreover, the reference to "Scheibel" is inaccurate in citation and 
content. The paper is Diamond, Scheibel, Murphy and Harvey (1985), and it 
purports to demonstrate that "in left area 39, the neuronal:glial ratio 
for the Einstein brain is significantly smaller than the mean for the 
control population". However, I've long maintained that the analysis is 
statistically-flawed because the p-value used in the t-test wasn't 
corrected for the fact that four areas of Einstein's brain were tested, 
but only one was found to be significant. If corrected (e.g. using the 
Bonferroni method), none would be significant.

No one listens to me, especially not the eminent Marian Diamond. And when
last heard from (figuratively, of course) Einstein's brain was resting in
a pickle jar in Kansas. 



Diamond, M., Scheibel, A., Murphy, G., & Harvey, T. (1985). On the brain of
  a scientist: Albert Einstein. Experimental Neurology, 88, 198-204.

Stephen Black, Ph.D.                      tel: (819) 822-9600 ext 2470
Department of Psychology                  fax: (819) 822-9661
Bishop's University                    e-mail: sblack at ubishops.ca
Lennoxville, Quebec               
J1M 1Z7                    Bishop's Department of Psychology web page at:                                                      
Canada                        http://www.ubishops.ca/ccc/div/soc/psy

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