Posts

Showing posts from January, 2016

Sex on the brain – a tale of two studies

Image
--> The issue of whether there are biological differences between male and female brains is a fraught one and an area where political positions or prior expectations seem to have a strong influence on the interpretation of scientific data. These trends are illustrated by two papers published in the last couple years, which, despite fairly comparable findings, were interpreted in almost polar opposite fashions.

Both studies found strong group differences between male and female brains, one in volume of brain areas, the other in structural connectivity. But the authors of one study went on to (over)interpret these group differences as the basis for sex differences in cognition, while the other downplayed them entirely and instead emphasised the inherent variability within genders to conclude that there was no such thing as a “male brain” or a “female brain”.  Both received extensive coverage in the media, fuelled by the associated press releases, resulting in headlines making …