Forget What You Thought You Knew About Brain Sex: ‘Male Brains’ And ‘Female Brains’ Don’t Exist

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  • So you think your boyfriend is a terrible listener who can’t multitask and lacks intuition? Turns out, that probably has nothing to do with his maleness, that’s just who he is.

    A new study contradicts the idea that brain differences are dictated by gender. Take that history, all those gender stereotypes are nonsense. Brain scans prove your brain probably isn’t ‘male’ or ‘female’. 

    Men are not from Mars, women are not from Venus, we’re all from Earth and our brains aren’t that different, well at least not on account of our gender

    The research, which was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences analysed over 1400 MRI scans and examined the whole brains of 112 men and 169 women aged between 18 and 79 to try and find sex differences.

    The conclusion? Finding patterns that set men and women apart was difficult. What was easy to notice was how much overlap exists.

    Most people’s brains are a big meaty tapestry of features. Specific parts of the brain do show sex differences but as a whole most cannot be easily categorised as ‘male’ or ‘female’. Potentially, your brain has much more in common with Michael Fassbender’s than with your mother’s.

    ‘Most brains are comprised of unique “mosaics” of features,’ explained the researchers ‘some more common in females compared with males, some more common in males compared with females, and some common in both females and males…’

    ‘Brains with features that are consistently at one end of the “maleness-femaleness” continuum are rare… human brains cannot be categorised into two distinct classes: male brain/female brain.’

    What’s more likely responsible for the observed differences between men and women is nurture, not nature.

    Our culture and the ways in which we’re conditioned to treat men and women differently has a massive impact and serves to perpetuate stereotypes.

    The thing is, men are probably better at systemising and women are better at empathising because we expect and encourage them to be, intrinsically there is nothing in our brain matter that sets us poles apart.

    Men can also be nurturing and women can be terrible communicators who are really good at maths.


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