The Gendered Brain
The female-male brain debate has been raging for nearly two hundred years, ranging from ‘inferiority/complementarity’ arguments about the associated behaviours to whether or not it is actually possible to characterise the human brain via this binary sex-linked categorisation. A basic premise of such research is that we are looking at brains which have reached (or are reaching) a fixed developmental endpoint with predetermined structures and functions in place from early adulthood.
But supposing brains were much more mouldable and flexible for much longer than we thought – in fact, throughout most of our adult life? Supposing the determination of our brain structure and function was a continuous and dynamic process, linked to the experiences we have, the attitudes we encounter, the different contexts in which we live our lives? What might this mean for theories based on research into the brain as a hard-wired, sex-differentiated organ? What, indeed, might be the implications for the analysis and interpretation of brain-imaging data sets?
Georgina Rippon, author of The Gendered Brain, will speak on these questions. The talk aims to outline how 21st neuroscience could (and should) bring a fresh perspective to the female-male brain debate.