It’s a total Crockus

When presenter Dan Hodgins told preschool teachers that boys’ brains are wired to see the big picture and girls’ brains to see details, teacher Heidi W. was dubious. She wondered especially about the claim that girls have a bigger “crockus.” She e-mailed Language Log’s Mark Liberman, who critiqued the theory of brain-sex differences and set out to discover: What’s a crockus?

Hodgins, early childhood education director at Mott Community College in Flint, Michigan, replied to Liberman’s e-mail query:

The Crockus was actually just recently named by Dr. Alfred Crockus. It is the detailed section of the brain, a part of the frontal lope (sic). It is the detailed section of the brain. You are right, it is four times larger in females then males from birth. This part of the brain supports the Corpus Callosum (the part of the brain that connects the right and left hemisphere. The larger the crockus the more details are percieved (sic) by the two sides of the brain.

But Dr. Alfred Crockus doesn’t appear to exist online. Neither does Boston Medical University Hospital, where Hodgins says he works, but there is a Boston University Hospital run by BU’s School of Medicine. Crockus is not on the faculty. Several researchers cited by Hodgins also remain elusive, writes Liberman.

For more on the elusive Dr. C and the history of Crosley Shelvador of MIT, go here and here.

Update: At I Speak of Dreams, Liz reports on her attempts to confirm Hodgins’ alleged PhD and “national awards.”

About Joanne


  1. Hey, let’s get our pseudo-facts straight, here. It’s girls who have a bigger crockus — four times bigger, in fact!

    Joanne, with your bigger crockus and all, you should be able to keep track of these details…

  2. Walter E. Wallis says:

    Was that Dan Hodgins or Dan Rather?

  3. crypticlife says:

    Wow, what a Crockus!

    I’d be truly impressed if he managed to say this at a conference with a straight face.

  4. I’m surprised a mini-crockus like you was able to spot that, Mark. I’ll fix it.

  5. Crypticlife: I’d be truly impressed if he managed to say this at a conference with a straight face.

    Well, apparently the beat goes on:

  6. ECE Professional says:

    Hi. I’m the person who reported this to Mark Liberman and I just wanted to add clarification to some of the details:

    Hodgins is retired from the college and his traveling show appears to be his current livelihood.

    There was no mention of him speaking to just preschool teachers. Early Childhood Education covers birth through 3rd grade and he’s been making the rounds of ECE conferences, across the country, speaking to teachers from the entire age range

  7. The number of appearances by Hodgins made me wonder how many other misinforming professional development presenters there are?

    So here’s a contest for teachers: what is the worst, most vapid, most content-free professional development experience of your teaching career?

    Contest home is here (also has links that explains the to-do over Hodgins).

    Leave a link in the comments to your post, or post the whole sorry story in the comments, if you’d like.

  8. I’ve spent a little time looking for suitable anagrams of “Boston Medical University Hospital”. I was not able to do any better than the variations on a theme demonstrated below.

    – Is my bullshit so vain a deception? Rot!
    – Or it’s a vain deception, my bullshit. So?
    – Bullshit story is a vain deception, Om.
    – Most visionary bullshit; a deception.

    (I tried alternative anagrams using words such as “invented” and even “parasitic”, but they didn’t work out.)

  9. “what is the worst, most vapid, most content-free professional development experience of your teaching career?”

    May I presume you mean *other* than anything organized by my university?

  10. Alfred Crockus says:

    Sorry for messing up the details on the crockus, but mine is so small you couldn’t find it with a magnifying glass and a pair of tweezers.