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  Sex beyond the genitalia: The human brain mosaic

Joel, D., Berman, Z., Tavor, I., Wexler, N., Gaber, O., Stein, Y., et al. (2015). Sex beyond the genitalia: The human brain mosaic. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 112(50), 15468-15473. doi:10.1073/pnas.1509654112.

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Joel, Daphna1, 2, Author
Berman, Zohar2, Author
Tavor, Ido3, Author
Wexler, Nadav4, Author
Gaber, Olga1, Author
Stein, Yaniv4, Author
Shefi, Nisan1, 2, Author
Pool, Jared5, Author
Urchs, Sebastian5, Author              
Margulies, Daniel S.5, Author              
Liem, Franz5, 6, Author              
Hänggi, Jürgen6, Author
Jäncke, Lutz6, Author
Assaf, Yaniv2, 3, Author
1School of Psychological Sciences, Tel-Aviv University, Israel, ou_persistent22              
2Sagol School of Neuroscience, Tel-Aviv University, Israel, ou_persistent22              
3Department of Neurobiology, Tel-Aviv University, Israel, ou_persistent22              
4School of Mathematical Sciences, Tel-Aviv University, Israel, ou_persistent22              
5Max Planck Research Group Neuroanatomy and Connectivity, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society, ou_1356546              
6Division of Neuropsychology, Department of Psychology, University of Zurich, Switzerland, ou_persistent22              


Free keywords: Gender differences; Sex differences; Brain structure; Brain connectivity; Behavior
 Abstract: Whereas a categorical difference in the genitals has always been acknowledged, the question of how far these categories extend into human biology is still not resolved. Documented sex/gender differences in the brain are often taken as support of a sexually dimorphic view of human brains (“female brain” or “male brain”). However, such a distinction would be possible only if sex/gender differences in brain features were highly dimorphic (i.e., little overlap between the forms of these features in males and females) and internally consistent (i.e., a brain has only “male” or only “female” features). Here, analysis of MRIs of more than 1,400 human brains from four datasets reveals extensive overlap between the distributions of females and males for all gray matter, white matter, and connections assessed. Moreover, analyses of internal consistency reveal that brains with features that are consistently at one end of the “maleness-femaleness” continuum are rare. Rather, most brains are comprised of unique “mosaics” of features, some more common in females compared with males, some more common in males compared with females, and some common in both females and males. Our findings are robust across sample, age, type of MRI, and method of analysis. These findings are corroborated by a similar analysis of personality traits, attitudes, interests, and behaviors of more than 5,500 individuals, which reveals that internal consistency is extremely rare. Our study demonstrates that, although there are sex/gender differences in the brain, human brains do not belong to one of two distinct categories: male brain/female brain.


Language(s): eng - English
 Dates: 2015-06-042015-10-232015-11-302015-12-15
 Publication Status: Published in print
 Pages: -
 Publishing info: -
 Table of Contents: -
 Rev. Type: Peer
 Identifiers: DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1509654112
PMID: 26621705
PMC: PMC4687544
Other: Epub 2015
 Degree: -



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Title: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
  Abbreviation : PNAS
Source Genre: Journal
Publ. Info: Washington, D.C. : National Academy of Sciences
Pages: - Volume / Issue: 112 (50) Sequence Number: - Start / End Page: 15468 - 15473 Identifier: ISSN: 0027-8424
CoNE: https://pure.mpg.de/cone/journals/resource/954925427230