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Gender Differences in Human Brain: A Review

  • United Medical & Dental College, Karachi, Pakistan


Why do men and women think differently? Why do they behave differently in stressed situations? Why do women act more emotionally as compared to men? Why do men and women excel at different types of tasks? Why do boys like to play with cars and trucks and superman? These are the common questions which arise commonly in minds.The human brain is a highly complex organ. Studies of perception, cognition, memory and neural functions have found apparent gender differences. These differences may be attributed to various genetic, hormonal, and environmental factors and do not reflect any overall superiority advantage to either sex. Both sexes are equal in intelligence, but tend to operate differently. Men and women appear to use different parts of the brain to encode memories, sense emotions, recognize faces, solve certain problems and make decisions. Indeed, when men and women of similar intelligence and aptitude perform equally well, their brains appear to go about it differently, as if nature had separate blueprints. Sex differences in the brain may play a role in learning processes, language development, and progression of neurologically-based diseases. Sex differences need to be considered in studying brain structure and function and may raise the possibility of sex-specific treatments for neurological diseases. In this article it is reviewed that how does the brain of a male look and function differently from a female's brain, and what accounts for these differences? Several postmortem and structural neuroimaging studies in humans have shown the following morphological differences that are likely to reflect an interaction between developmental influences, experience, and hormone actions on the mature brain. Size & Weight The adult human brain weighs on average about 3lb (1.5 kg) [1] with a size of around 1130 cm 3 in women and 1260 cm 3 in men although there is substantial individual variation [2]. Male brains are about 10% larger than female brains and weigh 11-12% more than that of a woman. Men's heads are also about 2% bigger than women's. This is due to the larger physical stature of men. Male's larger muscle mass and larger body size requires more neurons to control them. The brain weight is related to the body weight partly because it increases with increasing height [3]. This difference is also present at birth. A boy's brain is between 12-20% larger than that of a girl. The head circumference of boys is also larger (2%) than that of girls. However, when the size of the brain is compared to body weight at this age, there is almost no difference between boys and girls. So, a girl baby and a boy baby who weigh the same will have similar brain sizes.
The Open Anatomy Journal, 2010, 2, 37-55 37
1877-6094/10 2010 Bentham Open
Open Access
Gender Differences in Human Brain: A Review
Zeenat F. Zaidi*
Department of Anatomy, Faculty of Medicine, King Saud University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
Abstract: Why do men and women think differently? Why do they behave differently in stressed situations? Why do
women act more emotionally as compared to men? Why do men and women excel at different types of tasks? Why do
boys like to play with cars and trucks and superman? These are the common questions which arise commonly in
minds.The human brain is a highly complex organ. Studies of perception, cognition, memory and neural functions have
found apparent gender differences. These differences may be attributed to various genetic, hormonal, and environmental
factors and do not reflect any overall superiority advantage to either sex. Both sexes are equal in intelligence, but tend to
operate differently. Men and women appear to use different parts of the brain to encode memories, sense emotions,
recognize faces, solve certain problems and make decisions. Indeed, when men and women of similar intelligence and
aptitude perform equally well, their brains appear to go about it differently, as if nature had separate blueprints. Sex
differences in the brain may play a role in learning processes, language development, and progression of neurologically-
based diseases. Sex differences need to be considered in studying brain structure and function and may raise the
possibility of sex-specific treatments for neurological diseases. In this article it is reviewed that how does the brain of a
male look and function differently from a female's brain, and what accounts for these differences?
Keywords: Human brain, gender differences, brain aging, neurological disorders, learning.
Several postmortem and structural neuroimaging studies
in humans have shown the following morphological
differences that are likely to reflect an interaction between
developmental influences, experience, and hormone actions
on the mature brain.
Size & Weight
The adult human brain weighs on average about 3lb (1.5
kg) [1] with a size of around 1130 cm3 in women and 1260
cm3 in men although there is substantial individual variation
[2]. Male brains are about 10% larger than female brains and
weigh 11-12% more than that of a woman. Men's heads are
also about 2% bigger than women's. This is due to the larger
physical stature of men. Male’s larger muscle mass and
larger body size requires more neurons to control them. The
brain weight is related to the body weight partly because it
increases with increasing height [3]. This difference is also
present at birth. A boy’s brain is between 12-20% larger than
that of a girl. The head circumference of boys is also larger
(2%) than that of girls. However, when the size of the brain
is compared to body weight at this age, there is almost no
difference between boys and girls. So, a girl baby and a boy
baby who weigh the same will have similar brain sizes.
Brain Vo lume
Sexual dimorphisms of adult brain volumes were more
evident in the cortex, with women having larger volumes,
relative to cerebrum size, particularly in frontal and medial
*Address correspondence to this author at the Department of Anatomy,
Faculty of Medicine, King Saud University, P.O. Box 22452, Riyadh 11495,
Saudi Arabia; Tel: +966-1-4781995; Mobile: +966502151924; Fax: +966-1-
4781995; E-mail:
paralimbic cortices. Men had larger volumes, relative to
cerebrum size, in frontomedial cortex, the amygdala and
hypothalamus. There was greater sexual dimorphism in brain
areas that are homologous with those identified in animal
studies showing greater levels of sex steroid receptors during
critical periods of brain development. These findings have
implications for developmental studies that would directly
test hypotheses about mechanisms relating sex steroid
hormones to sexual dimorphisms in humans [4].
Grey Matter vs White Matter
Ratios of grey to white matter also differ significantly
between the sexes in diverse regions of the human cortex [5].
Variations in the amount of white and grey matter in the
brain remain significant [6-8]. Men have approximately 6.5
times more gray matter in the brain than women, and women
have about 10 times more white matter than men do [3]. At
the age of 20, a man has around 176,000 km and a woman,
about 149,000 km of myelinated axons in their brains [9].
Men appear to have more gray matter, made up of active
neurons, and women more of the white matter responsible
for communication between different areas of the brain [10].
In women's brains, the neurons are packed in tightly, so that
they're closer together. Some women even have as many as
12 percent more neurons than men do [10]. These neurons
are densely crowded on certain layers of the cortex, namely
the ones responsible for signals coming in and out of the
brain, and these differences were present from birth [10].
When controlling for total cerebral volume, women had a
higher percentage of grey matter than men, and men had a
higher percentage of white matter [6, 8] and both gray and
white matter volumes correlated with cognitive performance
across sex groups. The average number of neocortical
neurons was 19 billion in female brains and 23 billion in
male brains, a 16% difference. In a study, which covered the
38 The Open Anatomy Journal, 2010, Volume 2 Zeenat F. Zaidi
age range from 20 years to 90 years, approximately 10% of
all neocortical neurons are lost over the life span in both
sexes. Sex and age were the main determinants of the total
number of neurons in the human neocortex, whereas body
size, per se, had no influence on neuron number [11]. Gender
differences in precentral, cingulate, and anterior temporal
white matter areas were also found, suggesting that
microstructural white matter organization in these regions
may have a sexual dimorphism [12].
Hypothalamus, where most of the basic functions of life
are controlled, including hormonal activity via the pituitary
gland also shows gender differences. The volume of a
specific nucleus in the hypothalamus (third cell group of the
interstitial nuclei of the anterior hypothalamus) is twice as
large in heterosexual men as in women and homosexual men
[13]. The preoptic area, involved in mating behavior, is
about 2.2 times larger in men than in women and contains 2
times mor e cells. This enlargement is dependent on the
amount of male sex hormones or androgens. Apparently, the
difference in this area is only apparent after a person is 4
years old. At 4 years of age, there is a decrease in the number
of cells in this nucleus in girls. The neuropil of the preoptic
area is sexually dimorphic [14]. Gender-related differences
were found in 2 cell groups in the preoptic-anterior
hypothalamic area (PO-AHA) in human brain. Both nuclei
were larger in male and appeared to be related in women to
circulating steroid hormone levels [15]. The suprachiasmatic
nucleus of the hypothalamus, involved with circadian
rhythms and reproduction cycles, is different in shape in
these two sexes. In males, this nucleus is shaped like a
sphere whereas in females it is more elongated. However, the
number of cells and volume of this nucleus are not different
in men and women. It is possible that the shape of the
suprachiasmatic nucleus influences the connections that this
area makes with other areas of the brain, especially the other
areas of the hypothalamus. In most hypothalamic areas that
stain positively for androgen receptor (AR), nuclear staining
in particular is less intense in young adult women than in
men. The strongest sex difference is found in the lateral and
medial mamillary nucleus [16]. The mamillary body
complex is known to receive input from the hippocampus by
the fornix and to be involved in cognition. In addition, a sex
difference in AR staining is present in the horizontal
diagonal band of Broca, the sexually dimorphic nucleus of
the preoptic area, the medial preoptic area, th e dorsal and
ventral zone of the periventricular nucleus, the
paraventricular nucleus, the supraoptic nucleus, the
ventromedial hypothalamic nucleus and the infundibular
nucleus. No sex differences were observed in AR staining in
the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis, the nucleus basalis of
Meynert and the island of Calleja [16].
Anterior Commissure
It connects several regions of the frontal and temporal
lobes and is 12 %, or 1.17mm2 larger in women than in men
Massa Intermedia
A structure that crosses the third ventricle between the
two thalami, was present in 78% of females and 68% of
males. Among subjects with a massa intermedia, the
structure was an average of 53.3% or 17.5 mm2 larger in
females than in males. Anatomical sex differences in
structures that connect the two cerebral hemispheres may, in
part, underlie functional sex differences in cognitive function
and cerebral lateralization [17].
An area of the brain important for posture and balance,
and the pons, a brain structure linked to the cerebellum that
helps control consciousness, are larger in men than in
women [18].
Cerebral Hemispheres
According to the majority of studies, men possess larger
cerebra th an women of the same age and health status, even
if the body size differences are controlled statistically. Male
brains were larger than female brains in all locations, though
male enlargement was most prominent in the frontal and
occipital poles, bilaterally [19]. The male differentiated brain
has a thicker right hemisphere. This may be the reason males
tend to be more spatial, and mathematical. The left
hemisphere, which is important to communication, is thicker
in female orien ted brains.
Cerebral Cortex
Men have 4% more neurons than women, and about 100
grams more of brain tissue. Women have a more developed
neuropil, or the space between cell bodies, which contains
synapses, dendrites and axons. This may explain why
women are more prone to dementia (such as Alzheimer's
disease) than men, because although both may lose the same
number of neurons due to the disease, in males, the
functional reserve may be greater as a larger number of
nerve cells are present, which could prevent some of the
functional losses [20]. In the temporal neocortex, a key part
which is involved in both social and emotional processes and
memory, men had a one third higher density than women of
synapses, and had more brain cells, though the excess was
slight compared with the excess in the number of synapses.
Sexual dimorphism has been reported in the cortical volume
of the Wernicke and Broca areas [21], as well as in the
frontal and medial paralimbic cortices [5, 19, 22, 23].
Differences have been reported in the thickness and density
of the grey matter in the parietal lobes [19] in the density of
neurons [10, 11, 20, 24] and in the complexity of the
dendritic arbors as well as in the density of dendritic spines
in several cortical areas [25]. In female brains, the cortex is
constructed differently, with neurons packed more closely
together in layers 2 and 4 (which form the hard wiring for
signals coming into the brain) of the temporal lobe, and in
layers 3, 5 and 6 (which carry the wiring for outbound
signals) of the prefrontal cortex [10]. Widespread areas of
the cortical mantle are significantly thicker in women than in
men [26]. Studies have shown greater cortical thickness in
posterior temporal and inferior parietal regions in females
relative to males, independent of differences in brain or body
size. Age-by-sex interactions were no t significant in the
temporoparietal region, suggesting that sex differences in
these regions are present from at least late childhood and
then are maintained throughout [19]. In a study it is shown
that men have a significantly higher synaptic density than
Gender Differences in Human Brain: A Review The Open Anatomy Journal, 2010, Volume 2 39
women in all cortical layers of the temporal neocortex [27].
Differences in brain anatomy have included the length of the
left temporal plane, which is usually longer than the right.
The sex differences in cellularity of the planum temporale
involved an 11% larger density of neurons in several cortical
layers of females, with no overlap between males and
females [10].
Orbitofrontal to Amygdala Ratio (OAR)
The ratio between the orbitofrontal cortex, a region
involved in regulating emotions, and the size of the
amygdala, involved in producing emotional reactions, was
significan tly larger in women than men. One can speculate
from these findings that women might on average prove
more capable of controlling their emotional reactions.
Women have larger orbital frontal cortices than men,
resulting in highly significant difference in the ratio o f
orbital grey to amygdala volume. This may relate to
behavioral evidence for sex differen ces in emotio n
processing [28].
Limbic Size
Females have a more acute sense of smell, and on
average, have a larger deep limbic system including
hippocampus [4] and anterior commissure, a bundle of fibers
which acts to interconnect the two amygdales [17], than
males. Due to the larger deep limbic brain women are more
in touch with their feelings, they are generally better able to
express their feelings than men. They have an increased
ability to bond and are connected to others. On the other
hand larger deep limbic system leaves a female somewhat
more susceptible to depression, especially at times of
significant hormonal changes such as the onset of puberty,
before menses, after the birth of a child and at menopause.
Women attempt suicide three times more than men [29].
Corpus Callosum
A large tract of neural fibers that allows the free flow of
communication between both hemispheres of the brain is
larger in women, compared to men [8, 30]. The larger corpus
callosum allows more transmissions between the two
hemispheres. Thus women use both hemispheres creating
more synapses between the two sides of the brain. Although
this discovery has been challenged in a volumetric study of
the corpus callosum in Korean people in their 20s and 40s. It
was shown that Korean men have larger corpus callosum as
compared to women. There was no significant difference in
corpus callosum volume between 20s and 40s.There was a
positive relationship between body weight and corpus
callosum for 20s, but not for 40s [31]. In another study a
dramatic difference in the shape of corpus callosum was
observed but there was no conclusive evidence of sexual
dimorphism in the area of the corpus callosum or its
subdivisions. The caudal portion of corpus callosum, the
splenium was more of bulbous shaped in females and more
tubular shaped in males. The maximum width of splenium
was significantly greater in females than in males [5]. It has
been reported that there is significant rightward asymmetries
of callosal thickness predominantly in the an terior body and
anterior third of the callosum, suggesting a more diffuse
functional organization of callosal projections in the right
hemisphere. Asymmetries were increased in men, supporting
the assumption of a sexually dimorphic organization of male
and female brains that involves hemispheric relations and is
reflected in the organization and distribution of callosal
fibers [32]. In Magnetic resonance imaging study, callosal
measurements showed no significant effects of sex or
handedness, although subtle differences in callosal shape
were observed in anterior and posterior regions between
males and females and surface variability was increased in
males [32]. It was found that in men the size of corpus
callosum is related to handedness. The more left-handed a
person was, the bigger the corpus callosum he had. Among
women there was no difference between right-handers and
left-handers [33].
Inferior-Parietal Lobule (IPL)
It is significantly larger in men than in women [34]. More
specifically, the left side IPL is larger than the right in men.
In women, this asymmetry is reversed, although the
difference between left and right sides is not as large as in
men. This is th e same area that was shown to be larger in the
brain of Albert Einstein, as well as in other physicists and
mathematicians [35]. It seems that the IPL correlates with
the mathematical ability. The IPL lets the brain process input
from the senses and aids in selective attention and
perception. Studies have shown that the right IPL is linked to
understanding spatial relationships and the ability to sense
relationships between body parts [35]. The left on the other
hand, is linked with perception of time and speed, and the
ability to rotate 3-D figures in the brain. In general, the IPL
allows the brain to process information from senses and help
in selective attention and perception (for example, women
are more able to focus on specific stimuli, such as a baby
crying in the night).
Straight Gyrus (SG)
A narrow band at the base of the frontal lobe, involved in
social cognition and interpersonal judgment is about 10%
bigger in women than in men [36] (men’s brains are about
10% larger than women’s brains, so measures were
proportional). In addition, the size of the SG also correlated
with a test of social cognition, so that people who scored
higher in interpersonal awareness, male or female, had larger
SGs. A similar study in children between 7 and 17 years of
age showed different results. The SG was larger in boys as
compared to girls. And this time, a smaller SG correlated
with better “interpersonal awareness”—the opposite of the
results were seen in adults. This could be due to a reduction
in grey matter volume, or pruning, which generally happens
to girls’ brains two years earlier than boys’. There does seem
to be a relationship between SG size and social perception
and femininity. Higher degrees of femininity were shown to
be correlated with greater SG grey matter volume and
surface ar ea [36].
Sex differences exist in every brain lobe, including in
many ‘cognitive’ regions such as the hippocampus,
amygdala and neocortex [37]. Extensive evidence
demonstrates that male and female hippocampi differ
significantly in their anatomical structure, their
neuroanatomic make-up and their reactivity to stressful
situations [38]. Imaging studies consistently show that the
40 The Open Anatomy Journal, 2010, Volume 2 Zeenat F. Zaidi
hippocampus is larger in women than in men when adjusted
for total brain size [4].
A rapidly growing body of evidence also documents the
sexually dimorphic nature of the human amygdala [39, 40].
It is significantly larger in men than in women adjusted for
total brain size [4]. Sex differences also exist in its structural
relationship with the rest of the brain. In a study of a large
sample of men and women, the patterns of covariance in the
size of many brain structures were 'remarkably consistent'
between men and women, except the amygdala, in particular,
the left hemisphere amygdala, which showed several marked
sex differences [41]. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
studies of the normally developing brain in childhood and
adolescence showed that after correction for overall brain
volume the caudate is relatively larger in girls, and the
amygdala is relatively larger in boys [42]. The posterodorsal
nucleus of the medial amygdala (MePD) has a greater
volume in male rats than in females, but adult castration of
male rats causes the volume to shrink to female values
within four weeks, whereas androgen treatment of adult
females for that period enlarges the MePD to levels
equivalent to normal males. It was demonstrated that adult
hormone manipulations can completely reverse a sexual
dimorphism in brain regional volume in mammals. The
extent of the MePD sexual dimorphism in rats in quite
comparable to reported sexual dimorphisms in the human
brain [10, 11, 43-46] and therefore supports the possibility
that sexual dimorphisms of the human brain are caused
solely by circulating steroids in adulthood. In addition, the
regions of the brain with which the amygdala communicates
while a subject is at rest are different in men and women. In
men, the right amygdala is more active and shows more
connectivity with brain regions such as the visual cortex and
the striatum. Conversely, in women, the left amygdala is
more active and is connected to regions such as the insular
cortex and the hypothalamus. Many brain areas communi-
cating with the amygdala in men are engaged with and
responding to the external environment. For example, the
visual cortex is responsible for vision, while the striatum
coordinates motor actions. Conversely, many regions
connected to the left-hemisphere amygdala in women control
aspects of the environment within the body. Both the insular
cortex and the hypothalamus, for example, receive strong
input from the sensors inside the body. Several studies now
report sex influences on amygdala function, including in the
context of its well-known role in memory for emotional
events. Evidence from animal research documents that the
amygdala can modulate the storage of memory for emotional
events, and does so through interactions with endogenous
stress hormones released during stressful events [47]. This
amygdala/stress hormone mechanism provides an
evolutionarily adaptive way to create memory strength that
is, in general, to memory importance. Both lesion and
imaging studies have confirmed this conclusion in humans
[48]. However, imaging studies have also revealed a sex-
related hemispheric lateralization of amygdala function in
relation to memory for emotional material. Specifically, the
studies consistently indicate a preferential involvement of
the left amygdala in memory for emotional material
(generally visual images) in women, but a preferential
involvement of the right amygdala in memory for the same
material in men [49-51]. In an intriguing parallel with th e
studies in humans, it was reported that stimulation of the
right but not the left hemisphere amygdala modulates
memory storage in male rats [52]. There is a distinct
hemispheric relationship with sex in regards to the
amygdala’s function in memory. Preferential activation
occurred in the left amygdala in women and in the right
amygdala in men. This implies sex-specific hemispheric
lateralization of amygdala function, and possibly different
ways of processing emotionally arousing memories. This
hemispheric lateralization was also present in resting
conditions, indicating a fundamental sex difference in how
the amygdala functions [53].
Visual Processing and Language Memory Area
The regions of the brain that play a key role in visual
processing and in storing language and personal memories
appear to differ between the sexes at the microscopic level.
The frontal and the temporal areas of the cortex are more
precisely organized in women, and are bigger in volume
[54]. The density of synapses in the temporal neocortex was
greater in men than in women. Fewer synapses to other
regions may represent increasing specialization of the
temporal cortex for language processing in females, and this
may be related to their overall better performance on
language tasks [27]. Sexes use different sides of their brains
to process and store long-term memories [49] and a
particular drug, propranolol, can block memory differently in
men and women [55].
Areas for Speech
The two major areas related to speech, Broca, in the
dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, Wernicke, in the superior
temporal cortex were significantly larger in women. MRI
studies showed that women had 23% in Broca's area, and
13% in Wernicke's area, more volume than men [45]. There
is also a difference between men and women as to which
part of the left hemisphere is responsible for speech and hand
movements. In another study, the volume of the Wernicke's
area was 18% larger in females compared w ith males, and
the cortical volume of the Broca's area in females was 20%
larger than in males [56]. In women, the frontal region is
more important than the area at the back, so problems with
speech are more likely to happen if the front part of the left
hemisphere is damaged. In men, the areas contribute more
equally, but if anything in the back part, especially the
parietal region, is more important. The brains of women
process verbal language simultaneously in the two sides
(hemispheres) of the frontal brain, while men tend to process
it in the left side only [57]. Studies have showed both that
areas of the brain associated with language work harder in
girls than in boys during language tasks, and that boys and
girls rely on different parts of the brain when performing
these tasks [58]. Females use the posterior temporal lobes
more bilaterally during linguistic processing of global
structures in a narrative than males do [59]. fMRI on a
conventional scanner for determining the anatomic substrate
of language between subjects and between sexes showed
activation changes in the left prefrontal cortex and right
cerebellum and significantly decreased responses were seen
Gender Differences in Human Brain: A Review The Open Anatomy Journal, 2010, Volume 2 41
in the posterior cingulate and over an extensive area of
medial and dorsolateral parietal and superior temporal
cortices. The male cohort showed a slight asymmetry of
parietal deactivation, with more involvement on the right,
whereas the female cohort showed a small region of
activation in the right orbitofrontal cortex [60]. The male
brain has its vocabulary making power seated only in the left
hemisphere enabling him to develop a large vocabulary. The
female brain becomes more proficient in the vocabulary she
already has using her emotions and feelings for others to aid
in the production of language.
Male oriented brains, hardly express feelings. It is due to
the use of the right hemisphere only. Male brains separate
language, in the left, and emotions in the right, while the
female’s emotions are in both hemispheres. It helps explain
why the male brain has a hard time expressing its feelings
Men seem to think with their grey matter, wh ich is full of
active neurons. Women think with the white matter, which
consists more of connections between the neurons. In this
way, a woman's brain is a bit more complicated in setup, but
those connections may allow a woman's brain to work faster
than a man's [10]. The parts of the frontal lobe, responsible
for problem-solving and decision-making, and the limbic
cortex, responsible for regulating emotions, were larger in
women. In men, the parietal cortex, which is involved in
space perception, and the amygdala, which regulates sexual
and social behavior, was large [61]. Men and women differ
in accessing different sections of the brain for the same task.
In one study, men and women were asked to sound out
different words. Men relied on just one small area on the left
side of the brain to complete the task, while the majority of
women used areas in both sides of the brain [62]. However,
both men and women sounded out the words equally well,
indicating that there is more than one way for the brain to
arrive at the same result.
Neural Networks
Numerous studies report sex differences in neural activity
despite no behavioral difference between the sexes. For
example, Piefke et al. [63] examined the neural correlates of
retrieval of emotional, autobiographical memories in men
and women. Memory performance did not differ between the
sexes, nor did the degree of emotion induced by retrieval.
However, brain regions asso ciated with retrieval in the two
sexes differed significantly. In another study, the neural
correlates of naming images were examined. Men and
women performed the task equally well, but the patterns of
brain activity associated with their performance differed
significantly [64]. The cerebral network involved in semantic
processing is significantly affected by sex and sex steroid
hormones [65]. In performing a visuospatial abilities task
and a phonological task, women and men showed no
performance differences in accuracy but showed different
brain activation patterns. Males exhibited more left-sided
brain activation during the phonological task and greater
bilateral activity during the visuospatial task. Females
showed greater bilateral activity during the phonological task
and had more right-sided brain activation during the
visuospatial task [66]. Men outperformed women on a
mental rotation task, and women outperformed men on a
verbal fluency task. Comparable brain activation occurred in
association with mental rotation and verbal fluency function,
but with differential performance [67]. Women perform
better on some phonological tasks and men on spatial tasks.
ROI-based analysis documented the expected left-lateralized
changes for the verbal task in the inferior parietal and
planum temporal regions in both men and women, but only
men showed right-lateralized increase for the spatial task in
these regions. Image-based analysis revealed a distributed
network of cortical regions activated by the tasks, which
consisted of the lateral frontal, medial frontal, mid-temporal,
occipitoparietal, and occipital regions. The activation was
more left lateralized for the verbal and more right for the
spatial tasks, but men also showed some left activation for
the spatial task, wh ich was not seen in women. Increased
task difficulty produced more distributed activation for the
verbal and more circumscribed activation for the spatial task
Lateral Ventricle
3-Tesla magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), including
diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) in unsedated healthy
newborns showed differences in male and female brains. The
left ventricle was significantly larger than the right; females
had significantly larger ventricles than males [69]. There was
significant ventricular asymmetry at birth, with the left
ventricle being larger than the right. This ventricle
asymmetry is present in older children [46] and indicates that
lateralization of the brain is present at birth. Interestingly,
female newborns had larger lateral ventricles than males,
even in the face of similar intracranial volumes and birth
weights. Studies in older children have found no gender
difference [46] or that males have larger ventricles than
females [70].
‘The female is softer in disposition, is more mischievous,
less simple, more impulsive and more attentive to the nurture
of the young...The fact is, the nature of man is the most
rounded off and complete' (Aristotle).
Men and women differ not only in their physical
attributes and reproductive function but also in many other
characteristics, including learning processes, language
development, and the way they solve intellectual problems.
Sex differences have been observed in cognitive functioning
and brain structure. These differences may be attributed to
various genetic, hormonal, and environmental factors and do
not reflect any overall superiority advantage to either sex. It
is well known that men and women display different
capacities in certain cognitive functions that are unrelated to
differences in the general level of intelligence. Witleson [10]
concluded that people use their 'preferred cognitive strategy'
based on the faculties they have. It is suggested that men and
women may tend to think in different ways, but every
individual thinks in his, or her, individual way. Men and
women appear to use different parts of the brain to encode
memories, sense emotions, recognize faces, solve certain
problems and make decisions. It is well known that
emotional development and cognitive abilities [71]
42 The Open Anatomy Journal, 2010, Volume 2 Zeenat F. Zaidi
particularly visuospatial skills, differ between males and
females [72-74]. It has been shown that the two hemispheres
in some cognitive tasks function differently in the male and
the female brain [57, 75, 76]. Ray et al. [77] found that for
high spatial ability males greater right hemispheric activation
was associated with better spatial problem solving. No
marked relationship between lateralization and cognitive
performance was found in the female. Males have
consistently shown an advantage in visual-spatial abilities,
such as aiming at stationary or moving targets, as well as
throwing and intercepting projectiles [76]. Males also excel
at quantitative problem solving, and mental rotation, or tasks
involving the underlying cognitive processes of maintaining
and manipulating a visual image in working memory [78].
Sex differences have been observed in functioning as
well as neurobehavioral measures. Men and women differ in
emotion processing, including perception, experience and
expression, most notably reflected in greater male
aggression. Studies revealed that males are more aggressive
than females, as young males engage in more rough-and-
tumble play than females and that females are more
nurturing. There is also a sex difference in aggression. Males
tend to show far more “direct” aggression such as pushing,
hitting and punching. Females tend to show more “indirect”
(or “relational”, covert) aggression [79]. The most striking
differences appear in the way men and women estimate time,
judge speed of things [35], carry out mental mathematical
calculations, orient in space and visualize objects in three
dimensions and the way their brains process language
information, emotion, cognition., etc. Men and women
display different capacities in certain cognitive functions that
are unrelated to differences in the general level of
intelligence. The most consistently reported differences
relate to spatial and language abilities, and whereas men
excel in mental rotation and spatial perception, women
perform better in verbal memory tasks, in verbal fluency
tasks, and in the speed of articulation [76, 80].
According to empathizing-systemizing (E-S) theory [81],
the female brain is predominantly hard-wired for empathy,
and that the male brain is predominantly hard-wired for
understanding and building systems. Empathizing is the
drive to identify another person's emotions and thoughts, and
to respond to these with an appropriate emotion. The
empathizer intuitively figures out how people are feeling,
and how to treat people with care and sensitivity.
Systemizing is the drive to analyze and explore a system, to
extract underlying rules that govern the behavior of a
system; and the drive to construct systems. The systemizer
intuitively figures out how things work, or what the
underlying rules are controlling a system. Females tend to be
higher than males in empathy, verbal skills, social skills and
security-seeking, among other things, while men tend to be
higher in independence, dominance, spatial and
mathematical skills, rank-related aggression, and other
characteristics [82]. Girls from 1 year old show greater
concern through more sad looks, sympathetic vocalizations
and comforting. Women also show more comforting, even to
strangers, than men do [83]. More women value the
development of altruistic, reciprocal relationships, which by
definition require empathizing. In contrast, more men value
power, politics, and competition [84].
There are some things boys tend to be better at than girls
and vice versa. There is a skill superiority already built into
general male and female brain development. Boy’s occipital
lobes are more developed, allowing them to see better in
brighter light. Boys also require more movement when
learning. The female brain is more decentralized. Female
brains have a greater ability to multitask because their
cerebrum is more active. Women use a variety of parts of
their brains when they do a single task. The female brain is
more integrated with more complex connections between
both hemispheres. Thought and emotion are more complex
than in the male brain . Women can think logically and
emotionally at the same time. Other tests have claimed that
females are superior in language, verbal fluency, speed of
articulation and grammar, also arithmetic calculation. Their
perceptual speed, for example in matching items is better,
and so is their manual precision. Males are reckoned to be
better at tasks that are spatial in nature, such as maze
performance and mental rotation tasks, mechanical skills,
mathematical reasoning and finding their way through a
route. Women generally can recall lists of words or
paragraphs of text better than men [85]. Imaging studies of
the living brain indicate that in women neurons on both sides
of the brain are activated when they are listening, while in
men neurons on only one side of the brain are activated [56,
86]. Men and women appear to process single words
similarly, but in the interpretation of whole sentences,
women use both sides of the brain while men use one side
[87]. In early childhood females are more advanced than
males in language and social development, and by middle
childhood males outperform females in selected tasks of
spatial abilities [88]. Boys, however, appear to have a higher
prevalence of developmental and learning disabilities. This
may be due to the fact that male foetuses require the
maintenance of higher numbers of nerve cells in the cerebral
cortex than female foetuses and early damage to the male
developing brain could result in higher losses of needed
neurons [89]. Extremely low birth-weight and premature
infants, especially males, are at greater risk of perinatal brain
injury and later neurological and cognitive impairment and
learning difficulties [90]. Berk [88], and Arnold [91] suggest
the origin of these differences may in part reflect differences
in brain lateralization and maturation arising from prenatal
exposure to gonadal steroids. For term infants the early rise
in testosterone levels in males is completed by
approximately 16 weeks of intrauterine life. Between then
and the surge in testosterone levels at birth, the foetal level
of androgens are similar in males and females [92]. The
brain has androgen receptors within neurons [93], and
though the situation in human infants is uncertain, in
canaries testosterone exposure is responsible for gender
differences in later programmed cell death [94]. Brothwood
et al. [95] in a study of 188 infants weighing less than 1500
gm at birth, reported females at 1 and 2 years being more
advanced than males in overall cognitive ability as well as
personal social and language development. A study in
extremely low birth weight (ELBW) infants indicate that
female ELBW children were superior to male ELBW
children by approximately two to four GQ points at 2 years
of age. This superiority in ability was predominantly due to
female children being more advanced in the area of speech
and language and personal social skills [96]. Studies have
Gender Differences in Human Brain: A Review The Open Anatomy Journal, 2010, Volume 2 43
shown that men use the left side of their brains when they
listen to someone speaking, whereas women use both sides.
This means that women process the information they hear
from human speech in a different way than men do [55].
Male and female brains work differently –at least under
stress. Men responded with increased blood flow to the right
prefrontal cortex, responsible for “fight or flight.”, and a
decreased blood flow to the left orbitofrontal cortex. Women
had increased blood flow to the limbic system, which is also
associated with a more nurturing and friendly response. The
changes in the brain during stress response also lasted longer
in women. The neural response among the men was
associated with higher levels of cortisol, whereas women did
not have as much association between brain activation to
stress and cortisol changes. As a whole, girls outperform
boys in the use of language and fine motor skills until
puberty. Boys generally demonstrate superiority over female
peers in areas of the brain involved in math and geometry
[97]. Females tend to think more observantly and women
tend to be more observant. Men tend to be more logical
emotionally. They tend to put importance on their feelings
and observations about a situation.
Women are better than men in human relations,
recognizing emotional overtones in others and in language,
emotional and artistic expressiveness, esthetic appreciation,
verbal language and carrying out detailed and pre-planned
tasks. For example, women generally can recall lists of
words or paragraphs of text better than men [85]. Men
generally do better in performing activities that require
spatial skills or ability to mentally rotate an image in order to
solve a problem, like navigating directions. Men navigate by
using abstract concepts such as north and south or distances.
Women navigate by talking about landmarks and things that
can be seen or heard. Men use their left hippocampus regions
when they navigate. However, women use the cerebral
cortex [55]. When negotiating a virtual reality maze, both
men and women use the right hippocampus to figure out how
to exit. However, men also use the left hippocampus for this
task, while women do not, and women also use the right
prefrontal cortex, while men do not [98].
While the brain allows us to think, it also drives our
emotions. The ability to identify and control emotions varies
between sexes. Women are faster and more accurate at
identifying emotions [99]. Women, as a whole, may also be
better than men at controlling their emotions. Studies have
shown women to be more adept than men at encoding facial
differences and determining changing vocal intonations.
Sections of the brain used to control aggression and anger
responses are larger in women than in men [99]. Male brains
separate language, in the left, and emotions in the right,
while the female’s emotions are in both hemispheres. This
helps explain why the male brain has a hard time expressing
its feelings. Women use language skills to their advantage.
Females use language more when they compete. They
gossip, manipulate information. Women also use language to
build relationships. Women pause more, allow the other
friend to speak more, and offer facilitative gestures [54].
Men’s and women’s brains fire differently when they are
planning to reach for something so rehabilitation after brain
injuries such as stroke may need to be tailored to the sex of
the person. A fMRI study showed that in female there are
three major areas involved in visually guided movement
such as using a computer mouse or driving a car, and they
showed activity on both sides of the brain. While male brain
lit up on both sides only for the most complex exercises
[100]. It has been reported that differences exist in functional
brain organization between sexes, and sex hormones may
play an important role in organizing brain functioning in
response to certain tasks in women [101] and these
differences in brain lateralization may be task-dependent
[102, 103]. Certain studies using spatial abilities tests
showed, men performed better than women. However,
women showed a more homogenous pattern of memory,
performing similarly on both tests [104]. In a spatial test in a
virtual landscape men more accurately located a target than
women, both with and without the presence of directional
cues. Although the performance gap lessened when both
sexes were provided positional cues, men still showed an
advantage in the test [105].
Though there are no disparities in general intelligence
between the sexes there are differences in brain structure. As
for intelligence, average IQ scores are the same for both men
and women. Men have nearly 6.5 times the amount of grey
matter related to general intelligence compared with women,
whereas women have nearly 10 times the amount of white
matter related to intelligen ce compared to men The study
also found that the grey matter driving male intellectual
performance is distributed throughout the brain. Men think
more with their gray matter, and women think more with
white [3]. After matching the brain specimen s to the
intellectual qualities of their owners, it was discovered that
differences in the size of the corpus callosum were linked to
IQ scores for verbal ability, but only in women and that
memory was linked to how tightly neurons were packed, but
only in men These findings suggest that human evolution has
created two different types of brains designed for equally
intelligent behavior [106]. There is not a clear correlation
between the intelligence with the size of the brain. The
intelligence of humans with brains weighing as little as half
the average may be normal or even above average [107]. IQ
is positively correlated with total cer ebral volume in
children, in particular, with the volume of cortical grey
matter in the prefrontal region of the brain. Subcortical grey
matter also contributes to the variance in IQ, although to a
lesser extent than cortical grey volume. Quantitative
knowledge of the developing human brain will play an
increasingly greater role in improving sensitivity and
specificity in the interpretation of brain abnormalities in
patients within the clinical environment, as well as in groups
of children with suspected brain dysfunction [108].
Human brain is chemically heterogeneous in regard to
sex, age, and brain region. These chemical heterogeneities
are region specific and are seen mainly in the sensorimotor
cortex and orbital frontal cortex. The sensorimotor cortex is
involved in sensory and motor processing, perception, and
motor execution and the prefrontal cortex is imp licated in
working memory, planning and sequencing of behavior,
language and attention (dorsolateral part), and decision-
making processes (ventromedial or orbital part) [109-114].
Increased level of N-acetyl aspartate (NAA) is found in
female sensorimotor cortex [115]. NAA is localized within
neurons and is involved in synaptic processes and can be
44 The Open Anatomy Journal, 2010, Volume 2 Zeenat F. Zaidi
considered a neuronal and axonal marker [116, 117].
Subsequent breakdown of NAA leads to aspartate, which is
an excitatory amino acid neurotransmitter. Increased level of
Glc spectra was detected in female orbital frontal cortex
Functional brain imaging studies (single-photon emission
tomography and positron emission tomography (PET))
indicate sex differences in brain metabolism, particularly in
global and regional cerebral blood flow and glucose
consumption [75, 118-124]. Cognitive activity resulted in
increased flow of blood to the cerebral hemispheres. The
increase was shown to be greater to the left hemisphere for a
verbal task and to the right hemisphere for a spatial task. The
direction and degree of hemispheric flow asymmetry were
influenced by sex and handedness, females and left-handers
having a higher rate of blood flow per unit weight of brain
[118, 125]. Usually by the sixth decade, men and women
show similar flow rates [126]. Men have relatively higher
glucose metabolism than women in temporal-limbic regions
and cerebellum and relatively lower glucose metabolism in
cingulate regions. In both sexes, metabolism was relatively
higher in left association cortices and the cingulate region
and in right ventro-temporal limbic regions and their
projections [75].
PET receptor characterization and pharmacological
studies showed the ability to detect sex differences for some
neurotransmitters and receptors. Several studies have
documented sex differences in the serotonin system. Sex
differences have been reported in the levels of serotonin
metabolites in post-mortem tissue [127] and in the number of
cells in the human raphe nucleus [128]. Serotonergic
mechanisms are involved in gender-related behaviors and
psychiatric conditions like aggression, eating disorders,
depression, impulsivity or suicide. The CNS serotonin
system behaves differently in men and women in many
important ways [129-133]. The mean rate of serotonin
synthesis in normal males is 52% higher than in normal
females [129]. Significantly higher type-2 serotonin receptor
binding capacity is found in men than in women, especially
in the frontal and cingulate cortices [134]. Women have a
greater number of the most common serotonin receptors than
men, and have lower levels of the protein that transports
serotonin back into the nerve cells that secrete it. Compared
to men, women had significantly higher 5-HT1A receptor and
lower 5-HTT binding potentials in a wide array of cortical
and subcortical brain regions. In women, there was a positive
correlation between 5-HT1A receptor and 5-HTT binding
potentials for the region of hippocampus. Sex differences in
5-HT1Areceptor and 5-HTT BPND may reflect biological
distinctions in the serotonin system contributing to sex
differences in the prevalence of psychiatric disorders such as
depression and anxiety [135].
Evidence also exists for sex differences in many
neurotransmitter systems within the hippocampus, including
the adrenergic, serotonergic, cholinergic, corticosterone,
benzodiazepine and cholecystokinin systems [38]. For
example, receptor affinity of glucocorticoids in females is
half than in males, a difference that does not depend on
circulating sex hormones [136]. Sex differences are also
reported in biochemical pathways pertaining to dopamine,
and the interactions between them [137-140]. Compared
with men, women have higher striatal [18F] fluorodopa
uptake, suggestive of greater presynaptic dopamine synthesis
[141], and a lower D2 receptor affinity [142]. Women also
have lower amphetamine-stimulated dopamine release [143],
and a greater dopamine transporter uptake [144]. Thus,
compared with men, women appear to have elevated basal,
but decreased stimulated, striatal dopamine levels. An early
study identified sex differences in monoamine content in the
human brain. Levels of monoamine oxidase were
significantly higher in several brain regions in women than
in men [145]. Studies of postmortem tissues have shown
women to have higher mean brain monoamine oxidase
activity than men [146].
A comprehensive study of the localization of ER-
immunoreactivity and differences in the brains of adult male
and female rats showed an obvious difference of estrogen
receptor ER- immunoreactivity between male and female
rats, and its intracellular distribution also showed a sex
difference. Estrogen may exert its function in different brain
regions in a gender-specific manner [147]. Gender
differences have also been detected in opioid sensitivity and
opioid-hormone interactions in humans [148, 149] and in
analgesic responses to m-and k-like opioids [150]. A PET
scan investigation revealed significantly different levels of
opioid receptor binding in several brain regions in men vs
women, including the amygdala and thalamus [149].
Sex differences in the genetic epidemiology and clinical
features of psychiatric disorders are well recognized.
Catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT), which metabolizes
catechol compounds, notably dopamine, is one of the genes
that may w ell con tribute to the genetic basis for sexual
dimorphisms in human brain, behavior, and its disorders
[151]. Genetic associations between COMT and various
psychiatric phenotypes frequently show differences between
men and women and may contribute to, its differential
involvement in psychiatric disorders in men and women. The
low-activity of Met158 allele was associated with obsessive-
compulsive disorder (OCD) in men, but not in women [152,
Male and female brains are known to develop differently,
and even to age differently at the neuroanatomical level.
Distinct differences in the male and female brains were noted
in the developing fetus between 16-36 weeks of pregnancy.
The corpus callosum showed a thicker measurement in
female fetuses than in male fetuses suggesting sex
dimorphism of human corpus callosum and raise the
possibility that prenatal sex hormones may play a role in
determining callosal development [154]. The brains of men
and women are indeed different from birth. Yet the
differences are subtle. They might be found only among the
synapses in brain structures responsible for specific
cognitive abilities [10].
Although the brain and its regions become well
differentiated during fetal development, much of the
maturational process occurs after birth. MRI analysis of a
sample of children with the age range of 7-11 years and
compared to adults, suggests earlier maturation of females
[155]. Adolescent brain development appears to be different
in males and females. Males age 6-17 years have been
Gender Differences in Human Brain: A Review The Open Anatomy Journal, 2010, Volume 2 45
shown to display more prominent age-related decreases in
gray matter (the part of the brain that allows us to think) and
increases in white matter (which transfers information
between distant regions) than females. These changes in
brain composition appear to be linked to developmental
processes in which nerve cell connections are “pruned” in
gray matter and made more efficient (myelinated) in white
matter. The more dramatic changes seen in males may be
related to the different effects of estrogen and testosterone on
the brain [156].
Adolescents’ brains undergo a substantial “pruning” or
reduction in gray matter volume during adolescence, which
happens about two years earlier in girls, compared to boys.
Girls also reach puberty two years earlier than boys. It is
well-established that prefrontal cortex, a part of the brain that
relates to planning ahead and knowing the consequences of
one’s actions, develops earlier in girls compared to boys.
Areas of the brain involved in language and fine motor skills
(such as handwriting) mature about six years earlier in girls
than in boys. It has been concluded that when it comes to
mathematics, the brain of a 12-year-old girl resembles that of
an 8-year-old boy.
Brain volume decreased with age among men, but hardly
at all among women. Moreover, those anatomical changes
appeared to be closely tied to a gradual decline in mental
performance in men. “There is something going on in the
male brain that is not going on in the female brain” [10].
Age-related reductions in brain volume are sexually
dimorphic, lateralized, and region specific. Greater
decrements in brain volume occur with age in the frontal
lobe than in the temporal lobe and in both regions it is
greater in men than in women [157]. Total number of
neurons in human neocortex was reduced by 10% over the
life span in both sexes, and sex and age were the main
determinants of the total number of neurons in neocortex that
was determined using a modern stereological method [11].
Some brain regions, all frontal and temporal cortical regions
and some basal ganglia structures show age-associated
volume decline and men undergo more accelerated cerebral
aging than women. The associations of age with reduced
grey matter is generally less prominent in subcortical
regions. These are stronger for men than women in the
dorsolateral prefrontal cortex [28]. Age-related loss of
neurons (18-20%), which was mirrored in volume losses,
was found to occur in the primary visual cortex in both sexes
in all lay ers except IV. Males, but not females, also lost
neurons (15%) from layer V/VI of the ventral medial
prefrontal cortex and showed an overall decrease in volume
of this region. In contrast, dorsal medial prefrontal cortex
showed no age-related changes. The effects of aging clearly
differ among regions of the rat brain and to some degree,
between the sexes [158]. Women are less vulnerable to age-
related changes in mental abilities, whereas men are
particularly susceptible to aging effects on left hemispheric
functions [159].
Sexual differentiation of the human brain is a multi-
factorial process. The differences are not thought to be only
consequence of the influence of sex hormones on brain
organization during development but also of genetic factors
[2, 160, 161].
Genetic Factors
From conception until the eighth week of gestation, men
and women are almost exactly the same. Th e only difference
is at the chromosomal level, deep inside the embryo’s cells.
One pair of chromosomes determines whether the person is
male or female. Except in the case of extremely rare
abnormalities, a person with two X chromosomes is female,
and a person with one X chromosome and one Y
chromosome is male. Several studies have provided evidence
that some sex differences do occur very early during
development, before fetuses are exposed to endogenous sex
steroid hormones. The genetic makeup of individuals tends
to dictate physiological differences. Male and female brain
cells carry a diff erent complement of sex chromosome genes
and are influenced throughout life by a different mix of
gonadal hormones. It is suggested that brain cells that differ
in their genetic sex are not equivalent, and that difference
may contribute to sex differences in brain function. XX and
XY cells differen tiate ev en before they are influenced by
gonadal hormones, and even if they are exposed to similar
levels of gonadal steroids. Genes on the sex chromosomes
probably determine the gender (sexually dimorphic
phenotype) of the brain in two ways: by acting on the gonads
to induce sex differences in levels of gonadal secretions that
have sex-specific effects on the brain, and by acting in the
brain itself to differentiate XX and XY brain cells [162]. A
study in mice showed that sex chromosome genes contribute
directly to the development of a sex difference in the brain
[163]. Sexual identity is hard-wired and is determined before
a person is even born. In a study, researchers performed two
different genetic tests comparing the production of genes in
male and female mice brains before the animal developed
sex organs. They discovered 54 genes that were produced in
different amounts in male and female brains--independent of
hormonal influences. Of those 54 genes, 18 were produced
in higher quantities in the male brain and 36 were found in
higher quantities in the female brain [164]. Sex differences
in dopaminergic neurons in rat fetuses had been
demonstrated on day 14.5 post coitum (dpc) [165], while
genomic study by [164] identified over 50 genes whose
expression differed between male and female mouse brain on
day 10.5 dpc well before gonads start to produce sex
steroids. A study by Smith-Bouvier et al. [166], strongly
suggests that sex chromosomes also play an important role in
development of the differences between sexes in incidence
and progression of autoimmune diseases. Animal
experimental studies showed evidence for primary genetic
control of sexual differentiation that does not involve sex
hormones. Results obtained from cultures of embryonic rat
brain indicate that dopaminergic neurons may develop
morphological and functional sex differences in the absence
of sex steroids [167]. Candidates for such hormone-
independent effects are those genes located on the
nonrecombining part of the Y chromosome and believed to
be involved in primary sex determination of the organism.
Two candidate genes are the two testis-determining factors,
ZFY and the master switch for differentiation of a testis
SRY; they are putative transcription factors. It was shown
that SRY and ZFY are transcribed in the hypothalamus and
46 The Open Anatomy Journal, 2010, Volume 2 Zeenat F. Zaidi
frontal and temporal cortex of adult men, and not in women.
It may well be possible that they function as sex-specific
cell-intrinsic signals that are needed for full differentiation of
a male human brain, and that continuous expression
throughout life may be required to maintain sex-specific
structural or functional properties of differentiated male
Sex Hormones
During the development of the embryo in the womb,
circulating hormones have a very important role in the
sexual differentiation of the brain. Depending on the type of
hormone and the level of hormonal activity during the
embryonic stage of development can produce brains with
male or female traits. The presence of androgens in early life
produces a “male” brain. In contrast, lack of androgens
causes feminization, and the female sex is developed by
default in a passive mechanism. However, studies have
shown that estrogen plays an active role in differentiation of
the female brain [168-173] and that the sensitive period for
estrogen related processes occurs at a later time than that of
testosterone related processes [174]. It is known, at least, in
rodent brains, estradiol and not testosterone is responsible
for the masculinization of the brain. Testosterone, secreted
from the testes in male fetuses is transported into the brain,
where it is converted into estradiol by cytochrome P450
aromatase, locally expressed in different parts of the brain
[175, 176]. While female fetuses are not exposed to
testosterone from their gonads, they are still exposed to
estradiol from their moth ers. To prevent masculinization of
the female brain, large amounts of alpha-fetoprotein are
present in the blood of female fetuses, which could bind
estradiol and thus preventing it from entering into the brain
In sexual differentiation of the human brain direct effects
of testosterone seem to be of primary importance based upon
evidence shown e.g. from subjects with mutations in the
androgen receptor, estrogen receptor or in the aromatase
gene [178]. In transsexuals, reversal of the sex difference in
the central nucleus of the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis
was observed. The size, type of innervation and neuron
number agreed with their gender identity and not with their
genetic sex [179, 180]. Various structural and functional
brain differences related to sexual orientation have now also
been reported [181-183]. Levels of circulating sex steroid
hormones, during development and in adulthood, play a
critical role in determining physiology and behavior in
adulthood [184, 185]. Since the morphologic characteristics
of neurons have been shown to influence the functional
properties of the neurons [186-188], it is likely that these
hormone-induced structural changes contribute significantly
to the activation of neural circuits necessary for certain
behaviors [189]. Recent findings suggest that manipulation
of sex steroid hormone levels may induce dramatic
macroscopic and microscopic structural changes in certain
regions of the central nervous system, such as neurons of
adult avian song system [190, 191], corpus callosum and
anterior commissure [17, 192], bulbocavernosus spinal
nucleus [193, 194], spinal motor neurons [195] rat Purkinje
cell [196], sexual dimorphic nucleus of preoptic area of
hypothalamus (SDN-POA) of hypothalamus [197],
hippocampal pyramidal cells [198], bed nucleus of human
stria terminalis [199], nigrostriatal dopamine neurons [200],
rat arcuate nucleus [201-203], human median raphe nucleus
[204], and substantia nigra [205]. Dorsal raphe nucleus
(DRN) is the largest of all raphe nuclei in rat brain stem, and
a part of serotonergic system [206]. Studies have also
indentified many areas of the brain that are altered during
development due to exposure to sex steroids, not only areas
closely connected with reproduction, but also in the areas
important for emotional responses such as amygdala and
even other areas such as hippocampus and cerebellum [207,
208]. Substantial evidence indicates that sex hormones
influence learning and memory processes [209], and interact
with stress hormones to do so. In humans, the menstrual
cycle significantly influences performance on both verbal
and spatial tasks [210], and modulates the neural circuitry
associated with arousal [4]. Menstrual cycle influences have
even been detected on the degree of hemispheric asymmetry
associated with various cognitive tasks [211]. Menstrual
cycle influences also exist on brain responsiveness to
addictive drugs such as cocaine [212] and amphetamines
[213], factors that will probably help to explain sex
differences in addictive processes [214]. In addition, sex
hormones such as oestrogen can alter the excitability of
hippocampal cells [215] strongly influence their dendritic
structure [216] and augment NMDA (N-methyl-D-aspartate)
receptor binding [217]. Intrahippocampal oestrogen
infusions modulate memory processes [218]. Finally, sex
differences exist in hippocampal long-term potentiation
[219], a phenomenon that is widely viewed to be related to
memory processes. Human behavior is also subject to the
activational effects of androgens. Transsexuals treated with
cross-sex hormones display sex reversals in their cognitive
abilities, emotional tendencies, and libido [220, 221], and
sex offenders are sometimes treated with antiandrogens to
reduce their sex drive [222].
Several studies have suggested that sex steroid hormones
might not be the whole answer to sexual differentiation and
that sex chromosomes could influence sex specific
development. Sex hormones are crucial for many sex
differences, but, equally, cannot explain all observed sex
differences. For example, a recent study reported several sex
differences in cocaine-seeking behavior in rats and, in
addition, found that these differences were unaffected by
oestrus state [223]. Many of such sex differences described
in the human brain arise during development by an
interaction of sex hormones and the developing neurons,
although direct genetic effects are probably also involved
[181]. Factors influencing structural [43] and functional
[178, 181] sex differences in the brain are genetic factors like
mutations or polymorphisms in the sex hormone receptors,
abnormal prenatal hormone levels and compounds such as
anticonvulsants, Diethylstilbestrol (an estrogen-like com-
pound) and environmental endocrine disrupters. When given
during pregnancy they interact with the action of sex
hormones on the fetal brain.
The fundamental neurological substrate that forms the
basis for complex cerebral asymmetries in Homo sapiens
may have been established remarkably early in anthropoid
evolution. In ancient times, both sexes had very defined role
that helped ensure the survival of th e species. Cave-men
Gender Differences in Human Brain: A Review The Open Anatomy Journal, 2010, Volume 2 47
hunted while Cave-women gathered food near the home and
cared for the children. Brain areas may hav e been sharpened
to enable each sex to carry out their jobs. In evolutionary
terms, developing superior navigation skills may have
enabled men to become better suited to the role of hunter,
while the development by females of a preferen ce for
landmarks may have enabled them to fulfill the task of
gathering food closer to home [54]. The advantage of women
regarding verbal skills also makes evolutionary sense. While
men have the bodily strength to compete with other men,
women use language to gain social advantage, such as by
argumentation and persuasion [54]. Morning sickness, for
example, which steers some women away from strong tastes
and smells, may once have protected babies in utero from
toxic items. Infidelity is a way for men to ensure genetic
immortality [224]. Tendency toward cortical lateralization
has been greatly elaborated in human evolution, such that at
least 90% of extant humans are right-handed. Numerous data
support an association of the left human hemisphere with
time-sequencing, language skills, certain neurochemical
asymmetries, and specific psychiatric disorders. The right
hemisphere, on the other hand, is associated with holistic
processing, visuospatial and musical abilities, emotional
processing, and its own neurochemical and psychiatric
properties. Significant sexual dimorphism in certain skills
associated with cortical lateralization has been reported in
humans. Females excel at language and fine motor skills, as
well as emotional decoding and expression; males are
relatively adept at composing music and exhibit visuospatial
and mathematical skills [225]. Evolution can also produce
adaptive sex differences in behavior and its neural substrate
Culture and Socialization
Postnatal social factors are generally presumed to be
involved in the development of sexual orientation [227, 228].
Females of all ages are better at recognizing emotion or
relationships than are men. These sex-determined differences
appear in infancy and the gap widens as people mature.
When such differences appear early in development, it can
be assumed that these differences are programmed into our
brains-“hardwired” to use a computer analogy. Sex
differences that grow larger throughout childhood however,
are probably shaped by culture, lifestyle and training. Studies
of brain plasticity have shown us that experience changes
our brains structure.
At birth, the human brain is still preparing for full
operation. The brain's task for the first 3 years is to establish
and reinforce connections with other neurons. As a child
develops, the synapses become more complex, like a tree
with more branches and limbs growing. After age 3, the
creation of synapses slows until about age 10. Between birth
and age 3, the brain creates more synapses than it needs. The
synapses that are used a lot become a permanent part of the
brain. The synapses that are not used frequently are
eliminated. This is where experience plays an important role
in wiring a young child's brain. The child’s experiences are
the stimulation that sparks the activity between axons and
dendrites and creates synapses. Clearly the social experience
of a young baby is limited, but even then it is interacting,
soaking up experience like a sponge. In an astonishingly
short time it becomes proficient in a complicated, not
entirely logical language. Even before an infant begins to
talk, it understands sentences containing quite complex
sequences. It is believed that nurturing one's brain can
enhance what nature has provided. There is a lot of evidence
that we build up our brain's representation of space by
moving through it. Boys tend to get a lot more practice
“moving through space” than girls do. This difference could
possibly be erased if the girls are pushed out into the
exploratory mode [97]. There is evidence that learning uses
long-term potentiation (LTP) in the cerebral cortex as a way
to strengthen synaptic connections between brain cells that
are necessary to acquire and store new information [229].
Even with laboratory rats, it has been shown that those
reared in a stimulating environment develop a much more
intricate cerebral organization than those reared in nothing
more than a bare cage. The more prominent sex differences
were seen when th e rearing environmen t was varied, with
females showing less susceptibility to environmental
influences in some neuronal populations [230].
Susceptibility to Neurological Disorders
Many CNS-related disorders show sex differences in
their incidence and/or nature. These diseases include, but are
not limited to, Alzheimer's disease (AD), post-traumatic
stress disorder (PTSD) and other anxiety disorders,
schizophrenia, stroke, multiple sclerosis, autism, addiction,
fibromyalgia, attention deficit disorder, irritable bowel
syndrome, Tourette's syndrome and eating disorders [231,
232]. Major depressive disorder, anxiety and eating disorders
are much more prevalent in women, while schizophrenia,
autism and attention deficit disorder are diagnosed more
often in men [233]. The prefrontal cortex (PFC) performs
important functions in the brain. It is rich in sex hormone
receptors, and has among the highest concentration of
oestrogen receptors in the human brain [234]. Sex
differences in the neural substrate for working memory, a
function, thought to depend on the prefrontal cortex (PFC),
have been reported [235, 236]. The PFC is also associated
with sex differences in its response to stress. [237, 238] and
might develop at different rates in males and females [239].
The PFC is thought to be involved in decision making.
Tranel et al. [240] present evidence that right hemisphere
PFC lesions impair performance on this decision-making
task in men but not women, whereas left hemisphere lesions
impair performance in women but not men. It was also
reported in an earlier brain imaging study of PFC function in
normal subjects performing the decision-making task [241].
Certain diseases that cause neuronal loss in the cerebral
cortex may be more detrimental to women due to their lower
number of cortical neurons compared to men [242, 243]. The
results of some studies suggest that Alzheimer’s disease
(AD) disproportionately affects women [244]. There are
growing indications that the disease pathology, and the
relationship between pathology and behavioral disturbance,
differs significantly between the sexes. AD-related
neurofibrillary pathology associated with abnormally
phosphorylated tau protein differs in the hypothalamus of
men and women: up to 90% of older men show this
pathology, whereas it is found in only 8–10% of age-
matched women. An opposite sex difference occurs in the
nucleus basalis of Meynert, the major source of cholinergic
innervation to the neocortex. Here, the percentage of neurons
48 The Open Anatomy Journal, 2010, Volume 2 Zeenat F. Zaidi
containing pretangles with hyperphosphorylated tau protein
is significantly higher in women than in men [245]. Other
evidence indicates that the relationship of AD pathology to
behavioral disruption also differs between the sexes. The
presence of a single APOE*E4 allele (an allele of a gene
associated with an increased risk of AD) has been linked
with significantly greater hippocampal atrophy and memory
disruption in women than in men [246]. As another example,
symptoms of depression significantly increase the risk of
developing AD in men, but not in women [247]. Finally,
Barnes et al. [244] showed that the relationship between the
presence of cortical neurofibrillary tangles and a clinical
diagnosis of AD differed dramatically between men and
women. Using regression models, they found that each unit
increase in pathology was associated with an approximately
3-fold increase in AD risk in men, but with a more than 20-
fold incr ease in women.
Schizophrenia is another brain disease that differs in both
incidence and nature between the sexes. Men and women
differ on averag e in several clinical features of the disease,
including its presentation, symptoms, age of onset, and the
time course of the illness. Some patterns of brain
morphology that are associated with the illness also differ
between the sexes. Men with schizophrenia show
significantly larger ventricles than do healthy men, whereas
no such enlargement is seen in women with schizophrenia
[248]. The ratio of the size of the amygdala to that of the
orbitofrontal cortex, which is sexually dimorphic in healthy
individuals, is increased in men with psychosis, but
decreased in women with psychosis [249]. Results of studies
from several laboratories [250] indicate that the normal
patterns of hemispheric asymmetry seen in the brains of
healthy individuals are reduced in schizophrenia, and that
sex interacts with the changes in asymmetry. Sex differences
even occur in the facial features of patients with
schizophrenia: male patients display significantly less facial
hemispheric asymmetry than do male controls, whereas
female patients display marked facial asymmetries that are
absent in female controls [251]. Significant interactive
effects of sex and frontal lobe volume were found in
regression analyses of the disorganization and suspicion-
hostility symptom scales. In men, higher frontal lobe volume
was associated with milder severity of disorganization but
was not correlated with severity of suspicion-hostility. In
women, higher frontal lobe volume was associated with
more severe disorganization as well as more severe
suspicion-hostility. No associations were found between
brain volume and severity of negative or Schneiderian
symptoms. These findings suggest that aspects of the
neuropathological basis for some symptoms of schizophrenia
may be sexually dimorphic [252].
It has been proposed that neuropsychiatric illnesses, such
as schizophrenia, with a typical adolescent onset may be
mediated by excess elimination of synapses [253, 254]. The
rapid rate of periadolescent pruning in males may underlie
the early age of onset and increased illness severity in male
schizophrenic patients [255, 256]. Previous studies in infants
and older children find that white matter FA increases an d
ADC (apparent diffusion coefficient) decreases with age
[257-259]. Gilmore et al. [260] observed a significant
increase in FA in the genu and splenium of the corpus
callosum, but not in other white matter tracts. This suggests
that the white matter of the corpus callosum is undergoing
significant maturation in the period after birth that may
represent a window of vulnerability to perinatal insults that
have been associated with neurodevelopmental disorders,
including schizophrenia. Becker [261] has discovered clear
sex differences in the levels of dopamine in several brain
regions, as well as differences in the responsiveness of
dopamine to stimulation by amphetamine and sex hormones.
In humans, addiction differs between the sexes in important
ways. Women, for example, are more sensitive than men to
the reinforcing effects of psychostimulants (for example,
amphetamine and cocaine), which may account for the more
rapid progression from initial use to drug dependence in
women compared with men [262].
Women and men tend to have different types of stress-
related psychological disorders. Women have greater rates of
depression and some types of anxiety disorders than men,
while men have greater rates of alcohol-use disorders than
women [263]. Based on neuroendocrine and behavioral
evidence stress responses may be characterized by ‘fight-or-
flight’ in men and ‘tend-and-be friend’ in women [264].
Under stressful situations, the ‘fight-or-flight’ response
invokes resources that increase focus, alertness and fear,
while inhibiting appetitive goals to cope with the threat or
challenge [185, 265] In contrast, the female stress response
primarily involves the limbic system including ventral
striatum, putamen, insula and cingulate cortex. Bo th men
and women’s brain activation lasted beyond the stress task,
but the lasting response in the female brain was stronger.
The asymmetric prefrontal activity in males was associated
with a physiological index of stress responses-salivary
cortisol, whereas the female limbic activation showed a
lower degree of correlations with cortisol [266]. Women are
more likely than men to focus on negative emotional aspects
of stressful circumstances [263]. The female intelligence
processing is more centralized in the brains frontal lobes
[106]. Therefore the frontal lobe injuries can be more
detrimental to cognitive performance in women than men.
Among brain injury patients, after damage to the left
hemisphere, long term speech difficulties occur three times
more often in males.
In a study it was found that for females, areas in both the
left and right sides of the brain were active during eye-hand
co-ordination experiments. That occurred for men only when
they were planning their most complex task: This gives
insight to why different types of head injuries are more
disastrous to one sex or the other. For example, in women 84
percent of grey matter regions and 86 percent of white matter
regions involved in intellectual performance were located in
the frontal lobes, whereas the percentages of these regions in
a man's frontal lobes are 45 percent and zero, respectively.
Clinical data shows that frontal lobe damage in women is
much more destructive than the same type of damage in
men. Rehabilitation after brain injuries such as stroke may
need to be tailored to the sex of the person. The research
findings suggest that if someone has a stroke on one side of
the brain, in one of the areas that differs between males and
females, it may be important to take into account the sex of
the patient. If the stroke is only on one side of the brain, a
woman may have rehabilitation options that the man may
have more trouble with because the woman may be able to
perform tasks using the other side of her brain, which is used
Gender Differences in Human Brain: A Review The Open Anatomy Journal, 2010, Volume 2 49
to being fired up. Men may have more trouble with
rehabilitation, and may need to be checked more carefully
before they resume everyday activities. Boys also fall prey to
learning disabilities, for example, dyslexia and attention
deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are more frequently
seen in boys than girls. The symptoms displayed by girls and
boys with ADHD differ, too. Girls with ADHD usually
exhibit inattention, while affected boys are prone to lack of
impulse control [97].
There is a clear sex difference in psychiatric disorders
such as depression: the prevalence, incidence and morbidity
risk is higher in females than in males, which may be due to
both organizing and activating effects of sex hormones on
the hypothalamo-pituitary-adrenal-axis. Fluctuations in sex
hormone levels are considered to be involved in the
susceptibility to depression, seen e.g. in the premenstrual,
ante-and postpartum period, during the transition phase to
the menopause and during oral contraceptives treatment. It
was found that about 40% of the activated corticotropin
releasing hormone (CRH) neurons in the hypothalamic
paraventricular nucleus in mood disorders expresses also the
estrogen receptor (ER) [267]. Estrogen-responsive elements
are found in the CRH gene promoter region, while estrogens
stimulate CRH expression in animal studies. An androgen-
responsive element in the CRH gene promoter region has
also been identified, which initiates a suppressing effect on
CRH expression [268]. Distinct liability for men and women
to suffer from some psychiatric disorders responding to
serotonergic agents may be related to differences in brain
serotonin receptors.
Autoimmune diseases are more prevalent in women than
in men. In multiple sclerosis (MS), a chronic inflammatory
demyelinating disease of the central nervous system (CNS),
there is a female-to-male preponderance approaching 2: 1 to
3: 1. The MS-associated HLA-DR2 allele is more frequent in
women than in men with MS [269] and there is evidence that
women develop MS at an earlier age than men [270].
Although MS is more common in women and may appear
earlier, there is evidence that disease severity is worse in
men. Male patients are somehow especially vulnerable to
cognitive deficits [271]. Systemic lupus erythematosus
(SLE) is nine times more common in women than in men,
but men exhibit differences in clinical presentation, with an
increased prevalence of SLE-associated renal disease,
vascular thrombosis, pleuropericardial disease, peripheral
neuropathy, and seizures as compared to women [272].
Hormonal shifts in pregnancy, menopause, and aging are
associated with fluctuations in the course of autoimmune
disease. Multip le sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis, for
example, improve during pregnancy, whereas lupus appears
to worsen. Steroid receptors are found in immune cells and
thus could provide a plausible pathway by which steroid
hormones affect autoimmunity [273].
Sex differences in brain development may be related to
the prevalence, course and treatment of several
neuropsychiatric disorders, such as autism and atten tion
deficit hyperactivity disorder [255, 256]. Autism and
attention deficit show strong sexual dimorphism and are
thought to originate from the dysfunction of cerebellum
[207]. Males are at least four times more likely to develop
autism, a highly heritable disorder, than females. Among
relatives with a broader autistic phenotype, males
predominate too. The threshold for phenotypic expression of
many autistic characteristics is influenced by imprinted X-
linked gene(s) [274]. Clinical samples of attention deficit
hyperactivity disorder have been dominated by males.
Gender differences in ADHD may be attributable to gender
differences in dopamine receptor density. The rise of male,
but not female, striatal dopamine receptors parallels the early
developmental appearance of motor symptoms of ADHD.
Transient lateralized D2dopamine receptors in male striatum
may increase vulnerability to ADHD [139].
Research on the differences between male and female
brain structure and function has huge implications for
educational theory. Male and female brains are wired
differently and that is why they learn, feel and react so
differently. Studies have shown that girls tend to use the
areas of the brain devoted to verbal and emotional
functioning, while boys generally use the areas of the brain
geared toward spatial and mechanical tasks [275]. The male
brain needs to recharge and reorient by entering what brain
scientists call a rest state. Boys may naturally drift off or
“space out” during a lesson. However, they are able to stay
engaged in visual or hands-on learning that involves
symbols, objects, diagrams and pictures but zone out when
too many words are used [276]. Active learning strengthens
neuronal pathways, builds new ones and improves memory
skills, reasoning and visualization efficiency.
The male and the female brains show anatomical,
functional and biochemical differences in all stages of life.
These differences begin early during development due to a
combination of genetic and hormonal events and continue
throughout the lifespan of an individual, and are involved in
many functions in heath as well as in diseases. Mental and
emotional health is extremely important to healthy aging.
Sex differences need to be considered in studying brain
structure and function. It may raise the possibility of early
diagnosis and precise treatment and management for
neurological diseases, and may help physicians and scientists
to discover new diagnostic tools to explore the brain
differences. Understanding the development of normal brain
and differences between the sexes is important for the
interpretation of clinical imaging studies.
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Received: January 28, 2010 Revised: February 9, 2010 Accepted: February 11, 2010
© Zeenat F. Zaidi; Licensee Bentham Open.
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... The proposed mechanisms for such advantage are like sex hormonal influences on brain neuronal development and its activity and better color shades perception in females. 8,19,20 Moreover, females have anatomically larger planum temporale, Wernicke and Broca language associated brain areas as compared to males making them superior in language skills. 19,21 Addition to this, the genetic variation of X-Y gene pairs lead to a development of hemispheric asymmetry in color processing between male and female. ...
... 8,19,20 Moreover, females have anatomically larger planum temporale, Wernicke and Broca language associated brain areas as compared to males making them superior in language skills. 19,21 Addition to this, the genetic variation of X-Y gene pairs lead to a development of hemispheric asymmetry in color processing between male and female. There is an existence of right hemisphere wavelength-differencing in male and left hemisphere frequency differencing in females. ...
Background The Stroop test is a gold-standard cognitive function test that assesses selective attention. There are discrepancies of having language interaction in bilingual individuals on stroop test. Objective To assess selective attention of Nepalese in Nepali and English versions of stroop test and investigating gender differences in it. Method The study includes male (n 33) and female (n 33) of age 20-40 years. Their first home language is Nepali. The comparison of congruent and incongruent reaction time (selective attention) between two test versions was analyzed by Paired t-test. Gender differences on selective attention were analyzed by Independent sample t-test. Data are expressed as mean ± SD, p < 0.05. Result The congruent time in Nepali test (47.34 ± 9.23) was higher than English (42.21 ± 10.17) test. The selective attention in Nepali (113.11 ± 24.04) was significantly better (low latency) than English version (119.67 ± 28.81) of the test. Female outperformed male in selective attention on both the versions. Conclusion Orthographically and phonologically dissimilar languages affect the reaction time of bilingual individuals. Nepali stroop test can be a valid tool in assessing selective attention on Nepalese population. Females outperform males on selective attention as assessed by stroop test.
... Some studies have shown differences in the reduction of peripheral hearing sensitivity between males and females [26,27], while Cruickshanks et al. showed no difference in the rate of reduction [28]. Despite the contradictory results regarding the effect of gender on peripheral hearing sensitivity, it has been found that the cognitive skills of males and females are different [29]. For example, females perform better memory, language, and perceptual skills [29,30]; however, according to the study by Miller and Halpern, many conclusions about gender differences in cognitive abilities need to be reexamined [31]. ...
... Despite the contradictory results regarding the effect of gender on peripheral hearing sensitivity, it has been found that the cognitive skills of males and females are different [29]. For example, females perform better memory, language, and perceptual skills [29,30]; however, according to the study by Miller and Halpern, many conclusions about gender differences in cognitive abilities need to be reexamined [31]. In our study, similar to other studies [28,31,32], it was found that gender factor in subjects aged 18-25 years and at different SNRs had no effect on the SIN perception score. ...
Background and Aim: Adding noise to the speech audiometry tests increases the sensitivity and specificity of them. This study aimed to investigate the normative data for the Speech-in-Noise (SIN) perception test in normal-hearing adults aged 18–25, and evaluate the effect of gender and ear laterality on the test score. Methods: In this cross-sectional study, 126 adults aged 18–25 years with mean(SD) of age: 22.28(1.61) years old participated. The SIN perception test using Persian monosyllabic words was performed in quiet and using 5 signal-to-noise ratios (SNRs; 0,± 5 and ± 10). Results: The mean of SIN perception score was 96.48, 91 and 82.79% at the SNRs of +10, +5, and 0 for the right ear, and 97.09, 91.42, and 84.11% at the SNRs of +10, +5, and 0 for the left ear, respectively. The interaction effect of gender and ear laterality had no statistically significant effect on the test results in quiet and at any SNRs (p>0.05). Moreover, the main effect of gender on the test score was not significant (p>0.05), and there was no significant difference in the test score between the right and left ears (p>0.05). Conclusion: Given the importance of including the SIN perception test in the routine audiology tests, considering normative data for this test is important. The normative data found in this study for this test can be routinely used in audiology clinics.
... Perempuan lebih unggul dalam kemampuan verbal (Sasser, 2010) dan kemampuan berpikir kritis (Fuad, 2017). Perempuan lebih baik dalam hal berbahasa (Sasser, 2010;Zaidi, 2010). Selain itu, dalam pembelajaran laki-laki cenderung kurang teliti jika dibandingkan dengan perempuan 10.31932/jpbio.v4i2.524 ...
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Keterampilan mengajar (teaching skills) adalah salah satu keterampilan yang memberikan kontribusi besar bagi calon guru dalam rangka menjadi guru profesional. Keterampilan ini memungkinkan bagi calon guru turut andil dalam mencapai tujuan pendidikan nasional. Penelitian ini bertujuan untuk mengetahui signifikansi perbedaan teaching skills mahasiswa calon guru biologi laki-laki dan perempuan di era revolusi industri 4.0. Subyek penelitian ini adalah mahasiswa Pendidikan Biologi semester 4 Tahun Akademik 2018/2019. Penelitian ini merupakan penelitian kuantitatif yang menggunakan analisis uji T untuk mengetahui signifikansi perbedaan teaching skills pada mahasiswa laki-laki dan perempuan. Data teaching skills didapatkan dari skor pada lembar asesmen teaching skills. Lembar asesmen teaching skills yang digunakan memiliki empat aspek penilaian, yaitu: 1) membuka pelajaran; 2) melaksanakan kegiatan inti pembelajaran; 3) menutup pembelajaran; dan 4) faktor penunjang. Masing-masing aspek penilaian tersebut memiliki indikator dan deskriptor. Hasil penelitian mengungkap bahwa tidak ada perbedaan signifikan teaching skills pada mahasiswa calon guru biologi laki-laki dan perempuan
... Although the mechanisms for sex differences in the current study remain speculative, there are notable sex differences in the brain that could account for the observed findings. Numerous sexual dimorphisms in the healthy brain have been reported (Chen et al., 2007;Goldstein et al., 2001;Maller et al., 2006;Zaidi, 2010). In particular, males have greater volume in the anterior cingulate cortex (Liu et al., 2020), which is a key region involved inhibitory control and also demonstrated sex differences in the current analysis. ...
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Childhood maltreatment (CM) and a family history (FH) of alcohol use disorder (AUD) are each associated with increased impulsivity. However, their unique or shared brain targets remain unknown. Furthermore, both CM and FH demonstrate sex-dependent effects on brain and behavior. We hypothesized that CM and FH interact in brain regions involved in impulsivity with sex-dependent effects. 144 first-year college students (18-19 years old) with varying experiences of CM and/or FH but without current AUD performed an fMRI stop-signal task. We tested interactions between FH, CM, and sex on task performance and blood oxygen level-dependent (BOLD) signal during successful inhibitions. We examined correlations between BOLD response and psychiatric symptoms. Significant three-way interactions of FH, CM, and sex were detected for brain and behavioral data, largely driven by male subjects. In males, CM was associated with poorer response inhibition but only for those with less FH; males with higher levels of both CM and FH demonstrated better response inhibition. Three-way interaction effects on voxel-wise BOLD response during response inhibition were found in bilateral middle frontal gyrus, left inferior frontal gyrus, dorsome-dial prefrontal cortex, and posterior cingulate cortex. Network-level analyses implicated the left frontoparietal network, executive control network, and default-mode network. Greater BOLD response in these networks correlated with lower depressive, impulsive, and attentional symptoms, reduced alcohol misuse, greater resilience scores, and heightened trait anxiety. The results highlight sex-divergent effects of heritable and environmental risk factors that may account for sex-dependent expression of psychopathology in response to risk factors. K E Y W O R D S alcohol use disorder, childhood adversity, early life stress, family history, fMRI, impulsivity, sex differences
... Self-efficacy sangat penting dalam pembelajaran (Bell & Kozlowski, 2008, 2010. Siswa yang memiliki self-efficacy tinggi memiliki kepercayaan diri, tidak khawatir, dan mampu tampil lebih baik (Siriparp, 2015); lebih termotivasi selama belajar (Seitfert, 2004). ...
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Self-efficacy is one of student’s success predictor, so it should be one of the variables to be considered in learning activities. Research on self-efficacy in pesantren has not been widely disclosed, therefore it is necessary to conduct research related to gender-based self-efficacy in pesantren. The study used an ex-post-facto non-experimental quantitative design at one of pesantren-based SMP and MTs in Pamekasan. There are 29 male and 39 female as the participants of this study. SOSESC-P was used as research instrument. Data were analyzed using t-test. Based on the result, there is no significant difference between the self-efficacy of male and female students in pesantren, tith average score of 64.12 and 64.86 respectively. This indicates that the science learning process in pesantren has succeeded in bridging the achievement of self-efficacy of male and female students, with their comprehensive learning concept in 3 dimensions, namely (1) the deep dimension of religious morality, (2) the dimensions of science and technology, and (3) dimensions of skills needed in the 21st century. The result of this study can be used as evidence in policy making, related to science learning and self-efficacy based on gender.
... Cerebral cortex and cerebellum are also found to be larger in males than in females. The brain nuclei discussed further in this chapter are the major brain areas that represent sexual dimorphism at the neuronal level (Zaidi, 2010). ...
... Numerous structural and functional differences driven by genetic, hormonal and environmental factors in humans cause differences in the toxicokinetics of elements between the two sexes [77][78][79]. Epidemiological studies reviewed by Tyler and Allan [80] suggested a more pronounced effect of low chronic As exposure on females than males, while Thakur et al. [9] stated As-related toxicity is more common in males. Regression modelling in our study showed female bears had higher As in brain samples than males (Table S2), as previously shown for As in muscle and liver tissue, Cd in liver and kidney tissue, and Hg in liver tissue [40]. ...
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Trace element pollution can adversely affect the brains of individuals and thus impact the entire population of apex predators, such as large European carnivores. We assessed exposure to prominent neurotoxicants As, Cd, Hg and Pb by measuring their brain stem levels in brown bears (n = 114), grey wolves (n = 8), Eurasian lynx (n = 3), and golden jackals (n = 2) sampled in 2015–2022 in Croatia. The highest of the non-essential elements was the Pb level in the bearsʼ brains (median, Q1-Q3; 11.1, 7.13–24.1 μg/kg wet mass), with 4% of animals, all subadults, exceeding the established normal bovine levels (100 μg/kg wet mass). Species-specific differences were noted for Ca, Cd, Cu, Fe, Pb and Se brain levels. Female brown bears had higher As brain levels than males. Cubs and yearlings had lower brain Cd, but higher Zn, while subadults had higher Cu than adult bears. Hepatic As, Cd, Cu and Hg levels were shown to be a moderate proxy for estimating brain levels in bears (rS = 0.30–0.69). Multiple associations of As, Cd, Hg and Pb with essential elements pointed to a possible interaction and disturbance of brain Ca, Cu, Fe, Se and Zn homeostasis. Non-essential element levels in the brains of four studied species were lower than reported earlier for terrestrial meso-carnivores and humans. The age and sex of animals were highlighted as essential factors in interpreting brain element levels in ecotoxicological studies of large carnivores.
Introduction: The ability of the visual system to coordinate the information acquired from the eyes to control, and guide the hands in completing a task is known as hand-eye coordination. The typical hand-eye coordination involves the synergistic function of numerous sensorimotor systems, including the visual system, vestibular system, and proprioception, as well as the head, eye, and arm control systems. Aim: To investigate which gender is superior and efficient in learning hand-eye coordination using the mirror drawing task. Materials and Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted at a tertiary care hospital, Mangalore, Karnataka, India from April 2020 to April 2021 involving a total of 90 young adults divided into two groups of 45 males (group A) and 45 females (group B). A mirror drawing task was given to each student with four trials and two minutes rest in between the trials. Subjects were expected to trace a shape, most typically a polygon while only seeing the upturned reflection of their hand in a mirror and staying within the confines of a double boundary using a mirror drawing test. The number of errors, time taken to complete the task, and efficiency index of each student was calculated manually using the efficiency index formula and compared between the two groups. Results: Total 90 participants were included with a mean age of 21.2 and 21.8 years for group A and group B, respectively. Group A (males) showed a greater efficiency index (5.52±2.29) when compared to group B (females) (4.61±1.77) (p-value-0.039). The Spearman’s ratio of mean error and mean time was 0.575 in males and 0.483 in females. Conclusion: The males outperformed in efficiency index when compared to females in hand-eye coordination with repeated practice. The study concluded that males were having greater efficiency index and less number of errors and less time taken compared to females.
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Critical thinking disposition is an important part of someone's critical thinking. This study aims to determine the differences in critical thinking dispositions of students in biology education based on gender. This research was conducted at Muhammadiyah of Bengkulu University involving 73 biology students as respondents, which is consisting of 19 male and 54 female. This research is a quasi-experimental type with one group. The instrument used in this study was the Critical Thinking Disposition in Biology Test (CTDBT), which is the first test instrument developed to see the critical thinking disposition in biology. The data obtained were analyzed through non-parametric statistics, namely the Mann-Withney test with the help of the SPSS version 20 application. The results showed that in general there was no significant difference in the disposition of biological critical thinking among male and female male and female students, except for the analyticity indicator. The results of this study can contribute to lecturers and stakeholders in making decisions to improve the quality of graduates at the University
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Atlet pencak silat dalam setiap latihan atau pertandingan sering mengalami cedera, tetapi mereka tidak mengetahui tentang penanganan cedera. Oleh karena itu, diperlukan pengetahuan yang baik dari atlet pencak silat sehingga tindakan pencegahan dapat dilakukan. Dengan demikian, untuk mencapai perubahan tersebut perlu dilakukan edukasi terhadap atlet pencak silat supaya dapat mengetahui tentang penanganan dan pencegahan cedera. Edukasi yang baik dapat dilakukan dengan menggunakan media audiovisual. Media audiovisual merupakan media yang dapat memberikan gambaran yang lebih nyata karena menarik dan mudah untuk di ingat. Untuk mengetahui gambaran pengetahuan penanganan cedera melalui media audiovisual pada anggota Merpati Putih SMA Negeri 2 Purbalingga. Penelitian ini menggunakan metode penelitian kuantitatif. Desain yang digunakan dalam penelitian ini adalah pre eksperimental with one group pre test-post test design. Penelitian ini dilakukan di SMA Negeri 2 Purbalingga dengan jumlah sampel 24 responden dan dengan menggunakan teknik total sampling. Pengumpulan data pada penelitian ini menggunakan kuesioner yang dianalisis dengan Paired Sample T - test. Penelitian ini menunjukkan peningkatan pengetahuan sebelum dan sesudah pemberian intervensi menggunakan media audiovisual dengan hasil nilai p value menunjukkan 0,000 (< 0,005). Media audiovisual berpengaruh sangat signifikan terhadap pengetahuan penanganan cedera pada anggota Merpati Putih SMA Negeri 2 Purbalingga.
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Morphometric analysis of the human hypothalamus revealed that the volume of the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) in homosexual men is 1.7 times as large as that of a reference group of male subjects and contains 2.1 times as many cells. In another hypothalamic nucleus which is located in the immediate vicinity of the SCN, the sexually dimorphic nucleus (SDN), no such differences in either volume or cell number were found. The SDN data indicate the selectivity of the enlarged SCN in homosexual men, but do not support the hypothesis that homosexual men have a 'female hypothalamus'.