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Male and female brains are a myth

By Tim Sandle     Dec 1, 2015 in Science
It is sometimes part of the popular lexicon to sometimes speak of a "male brain" or a "female brain," drawing in on gender-role stereotypes. Scientifically there is no such thing, as a new study demonstrates.
Scientists based at the University of Bern, Switzerland have undertaken what they are describing as the first scan for evidence of brains for different sexes (or genders, depending on whether a biological or sociological position is taken). The outcome of this research is that, biologically, there is no such thing as either a "male brain" or a "female brain" — just human brains.
To arrive at this conclusion, a research group examined differences in brain scans (from magnetic resonance imaging) of approximately 1,400 people. The people were aged between 13 and 85. The brain scans were examined for a number of variables. These included size of brain regions, connections between brain regions. and the connections between them. Areas looked at included the hippocampus (key to memory) and the inferior frontal gyrus (which is linked, psychologically to risk aversion.) The majority of people, irrespective of their gender, had similar sized and connected brain regions. In other words, there is no evidence that there are two types of brain.
According to one of the researchers, interviewed by New Scientist magazine, the new finding refutes older scientific theories that male and female brains differ. According to Daphna Joel at Tel Aviv University in Israel, this is based on a theory which runs: "that once a fetus develops testicles, they secrete testosterone which masculinises the brain."
The research supports those who argue that gender is non-binary, that is most of the differences between "men" and "women" are social constructs, shaped by the particular society within which people live.
The research is published in the journal PNAS, with the paper titled "Sex beyond the genitalia: The human brain mosaic."
More about male brains, female brains, Brains, Neurology, Gender
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