Showing posts from August, 2017

Debunking the male-female brain mosaic

There is no such thing as a male brain, or a female brain. Instead, our brains are all really a mosaic of male and female parts – we all have an “intersex” brain. This is the claim made by psychologist Daphna Joel and colleagues, based mostly on a 2015 neuroimaging study in humans, but also some previous work in rodents. This idea – especially the catchy phrasing – has caught the public imagination and it has been widely covered in the media. Indeed, a recent editorial in Scientific American, entitled “The New Science of Sex and Gender”, cited this study as support for the view that “To varying extents, many of us are biological hybrids on a male-female continuum”. But what do the data actually show? I will argue below that the interpretation of a male-female mosaic is conceptually mistaken and based on a straw-man argument. I’ve discussed these findings and their interpretation before, as an illustration of how the same data can be used to support diametrically opposite viewpoints. He…