For example, once any differences in brain size were accounted for, “well-known” sex differences in key structures disappeared. Which is when the penny dropped: perhaps it was time to abandon the age-old search for the differences between brains from men and brains from women. Are there any significant differences based on sex alone? The answer, she says, is no. To suggest otherwise is “neurofoolishness”.

One major breakthrough in recent years has been the realisation that, even in adulthood, our brains are continually being changed, not just by the education we receive, but also by the jobs we do, the hobbies we have, the sports we play. The brain of a working London taxi driver will be different from that of a trainee and from that of a retired taxi driver; we can track differences among people who play videogames or are learning origami or to play the violin. Supposing these brain-changing experiences are different for different people, or groups of people? If, for example, being male means that you have much greater experience of constructing things or manipulating complex 3D representations (such as playing with Lego), it is very likely that this will be shown in your brain. Brains reflect the lives they have lived, not just the sex of their owners.

Written by

Dispelling cultural myths with research-driven stories. My favorite word is “specious.” Not fragile like a flower; fragile like a bomb! Twitter @ElleBeau

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store