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Monday, October 7, 2013

Differences Between Male and Female Brains

From the "Neurophilosophy" blog, by Mo Costandi, hosted by The Guardian:

Summary:  Male and female brains differ in structure and function, but we don't know how these differences affect behaviour ...

Summary: Subtle observable differences exist between male and female brains, but how exactly these relate to differences in behaviour is unknown. Such gender variations in the brain are often exaggerated and misappropriated, not only by the mass media but also by scientists, to reinforce stereotypes and perpetuate myths.

The science of sex differences has always been – and still is – fraught with controversy. Some believe that behavioural differences between men and women are mostly due to cultural influences, while others argue that sex differences are largely determined by biology. In reality, the situation is far more complex. It lies somewhere in the middle, and involves two related but independent factors, which are often confused or conflated.

One of these factors is biological sex, which is determined by chromosomes. Most people have either two X chromosomes, which makes them female, or one X and one Y chromosome, which makes them male. The other is gender, which is influenced largely by the socialization process. As we grow up, we learn society's norms about how males and females look and act; for most people, sex and gender are matched, and so they inadvertently conform to these norms.

Men and women's brains differ in subtle ways, and these differences are probably established in the womb, due to the effects of sex hormones, which masculinize or feminize the organ as it develops. However, we still do not understand the effects of sex hormones on the developing brain, or how the subtle differences observed between men and women's brains are related to differences in their behaviour.

Read more:
Male brain versus female brain: How do they differ?

Comment from Zoe at A.E. Brain:
A.E.Brain: Male brain vs female brain: How do they differ? 

Sexual Differentiation of the Human Brain (2009)

Transsexual and Intersex Gender Identity

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