Your brain is a 'unique mosaic' of male and female structures

Society says — nay, insists! — that male and female brains are wired differently. Whether you like this or dislike that is because of your brain's gender wiring, according to popular opinion. Your passions and preferences and tendencies and personality? The result of your gender-specific brain, many insist. That's not true, though, at least according to a new research project that found brains are highly variable with "a unique mosaic of features" common to both genders.

There are gender-based differences found in brain structures, but ultimately one's brain — that is, the sum total of all those structures — doesn't skew to one side of the other to form a wholly 'male' or 'female' brain.

So says new research hailing from Tel Aviv University researchers, who poured through 1,400 MRI brain scans of both male and female subjects.

The researchers looked at the internal consistency of female and male brain features — that is, whether a brain contains only one or the other — and found that such consistency is very rare. In addition, the team also considered the degree of overlap, and found that it is so wide that designating one as being distinctly male or female is pointless.

Ultimately, the researchers lay out their conclusion thusly:

Here we show that, although there are sex/gender differences in brain and behavior, humans and human 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 results demonstrate that regardless of the cause of observed sex/gender differences in brain and behavior (nature or nurture), human brains cannot be categorized into two distinct classes: male brain/female brain.

The full study is available via the National Academy of Sciences' website.

SOURCE: LiveScience