Rethinking Sex, Brain, and Gender Beyond the Binary
Are the brains of women and men the same or different? Or maybe it’s the wrong question? Sex-related variables affect brain structure and function and there are group-level differences between women and men in specific measures of brain and behaviour. These are often taken as supporting the existence of ‘male’ and ‘female’ brains. Studies in rats reveal, however, that sex effects on the brain may be different under different conditions – an observation that led me to formulate the ‘mosaic’ hypothesis – the claim that sex differences in the brain do not add-up consistently in individuals; rather, most brains comprise both features that are more common in females and features that are more common in males. The speaker Daphna Joel will describe the development of the binary conceptualisation of the relations between sex and the brain in response to the challenge posed by the mosaic hypothesis and its supporting evidence, and present the results of recent studies, in which she applied machine learning algorithms to better understand the relations between sex and the brain beyond the binary.