Male and female brains are hardwired differently

Dan Benjamin pulls this from John Cloud’s Time story Why Girls Have BFFs and Boys Hang Out in Packs,8599,1911103,00.html:

Perhaps it’s evidence that evolution has programmed boys to compete within large groups, so they can learn to eliminate rivals for women — and that girls have been programmed to judge, one-on-one, who would be the most protective father for offspring.

Am I the only one who thinks these kinds of articles are idiotic? Why is Dan Benjamin linking to this, much less agreeing with it? First of all this is a story in Time magazine — not exactly a bastion of rigor. Second of all, the only thing an fMRI study like this shows is that by the time boys and girls have reached this age (8 to 17, according to Time), their brains have become “hard-wired” to function differently in social situations. This says nothing of the possibility that social factors — which, oh, by the way, have taught these kids language — have forged these “hard-wired” distinctions. But please, go ahead and assume that studies prove what you already accept as common knowledge. Take it away Dan:

This may not come as a huge surprise to parents of teenage kids, but now there’s some science to help explain the difference.

Wow.