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 d