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So much for lady brain !

(27 Posts)
Dragonsdaughter Tue 01-Dec-15 14:21:39

Surprised no on has posted about the new research that there is little to no difference between male and female brains. Will be interesting to see what the trans community make of it .

EBearhug Tue 01-Dec-15 15:03:44

New? Gina Rippon's been talking about it for years. I saw her speak on it last week - it was very good.

slugseatlettuce Tue 01-Dec-15 15:09:30

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

CoteDAzur Tue 01-Dec-15 16:16:41

I think OP is talking about this study that finds brains looks like they have make or female attributed under different conditions (stress, etc).

Dragonsdaughter Tue 01-Dec-15 19:03:43

yes that one sorry it was on the front of the Times as well

Lweji Tue 01-Dec-15 19:14:32

What the article says, and not surprisingly, is that each individual is unique and a mosaic of whatever characteristics.
But, as skin can vary from very dark to very pale, brains can also go from two extremes, one more commonly associated with maleness and the other with femininity (in very simplistic terms).
Trans brains could find themselves on the "wrong" extreme and feel like they are in the wrong body, possibly.
But it must be a lot more complex than that, as many people would say they also have non-typical brains.
So, not sure this article is relevant for trans issues. More to discrimination in some work areas, I'd say.

OneofTHOSEWomen Tue 01-Dec-15 19:31:15

Delusions of gender talks about some of the research in this area, personally I feel this new research just confirms a lot of stuff I already knew iyswim.

Elendon Tue 01-Dec-15 19:32:35

It's the biggest study ever done on differences between the sexes.

Obviously the next study up is difference between races? Or is that not pc now?

slugseatlettuce Tue 01-Dec-15 20:03:25

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

slugseatlettuce Tue 01-Dec-15 20:08:37

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

HermioneWeasley Tue 01-Dec-15 20:13:35

Latest meta analysis I saw reviewing all the research on sex based brain differences found nothing.

slugseatlettuce Tue 01-Dec-15 20:17:05

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

almondpudding Tue 01-Dec-15 20:41:47

This is based on Daphna Joel's research.

I linked to the video of her explaining it on multiple different genderist/trans threads.

It is very useful because it starts off by explaining what sex is, what male and female are, since this since hopelessly confusing and impossible to work out for genderists, but is actually very straightforward.

Here's the link again!

Lweji Tue 01-Dec-15 21:15:45


Yes, which is why I wrote "more commonly associated with maleness and the other with femininity (in very simplistic terms)."

There will be many extremes with relatively few cases in each, by definition, because most cases will fall in between. And, being a mosaic, the ranges won't fall within a line, but more of a polyhedron (or rather multiple dimensions, if you were to display it graphically).

What we tend to associate with male and women, IMO, are more the "desirable" qualities that could provide some evolutionary advantage, but can easily be trained and learnt. Say, nurturing for women and aggression for men. It's highly likely that each is simply more developed in each group through nurture, rather than innate qualities.

slugseatlettuce Tue 01-Dec-15 22:06:01

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

VashtaNerada Tue 01-Dec-15 22:47:16

Yes, it pops up every so often and makes perfect sense to me! Love Delusions of Gender.

This doesn't need to be taken over by the trans angle as it's interesting in itself, but as I know a few trans people I don't mind addressing the question - I've actually seen a fair bit of positive response so far. Not all trans people buy into the idea of "male brain in female body", for most people (at least the ones I know) it's more about the idea that there are many ways to be male or female (or both... or neither...) and that for some people physical changes or a change in pronoun or whatever is something that makes them more comfortable. I'm a big trans ally (as in a big ally, not a big person, although I am arguably that too grin) but I've never bought into the idea that there are male and female brains.

Tis a good thing, I think.

VashtaNerada Tue 01-Dec-15 22:50:16

It's amazing how much traction the myth of brain difference has though, I am so sick of people talking about DS saying "that's boys for you!" every time he does something that DD does at the same time. Or when people excuse their husband's behaviour by saying that men just aren't good at listening / being considerate / planning ahead angry

almondpudding Tue 01-Dec-15 23:03:34

There are many ways to be female if you actually are female.

Just as there many ways to be six if you actually are six.

Lweji Tue 01-Dec-15 23:09:30

That's an interesting concept, VashtaNerada, and I wouldn't be surprised if how society dicotomises gender somehow causes transgender people to want to associate with another body type, because it's not socially acceptable to want to dress and behave like in the box where women are placed (or men are placed).
I suppose it's ok(ish) if how you want to be seen is somewhere between the sexes, but if you are, say, male, but your preferences match more with the extreme socially associated with extreme femininity, then maybe some people can only reconcile it with themselves to actually become fully female, in that it would make more sense to them. Would they still have that problem if, say, it was perfectly normal for men's appearance to be from short hair, plain clothes, sensible shoes to long hair, no beard and make up, dainty shoes? And the reverse for women?

On the other hand, because there is evolutionary pressure for males to make sure that they have fathered their children, it is likely that it evolved into the clear sexual dimorphism that we see today, both at innate body level (more hair, for example), but particularly in terms of appearance (e.g. cutting hair, wearing trousers at some point, and so on). I know at some point it was a crime to dress like the opposite sex, because then you (well, any male) can tell who is a potential sex partner or a threat. The same worked and still works for social and professional classes in a way.

Lweji Tue 01-Dec-15 23:11:01

Actually, somewhere in that text:
more body hair (than most women in the same group)

VashtaNerada Tue 01-Dec-15 23:11:18

But what's interesting about the research almond is that apart from physical differences at birth there aren't intellectual or emotional differences (aside from those we learn as we grow up). For me this supports the idea that the differences are small rather than men and women being fundamentally different. I don't particularly feel my physical characteristics define who I am, my personality does much more.

almondpudding Tue 01-Dec-15 23:14:38

Indeed, Vashta.

My height, age, sex, country origin, ethnic ancestry and physical impairments do not define who I am.

They're simply facts about me.

VashtaNerada Tue 01-Dec-15 23:15:11

Would they still have that problem if, say, it was perfectly normal for men's appearance to be from short hair, plain clothes, sensible shoes to long hair, no beard and make up, dainty shoes? And the reverse for women?
It's interesting isn't it? I suppose there will always be people who want to change their body in one way or another, but I suspect if our notions of gender weren't so rigid, for some people who identify as trans they might see themselves differently. Doesn't mean I don't support those who want to transition now though, obviously. Because we do live in a society that makes some people feel shit.

nooka Wed 02-Dec-15 06:24:18

I watched and really enjoyed that link that almondpudding made on another thread a while back, so I was really pleased to see the research paper. Not only does the paper show that there is far more variability than similarities within sets of male brains and sets of female brains effectively debunking the male brain / female brain theory, but it also looked at some big characteristic studies (eg the gender beliefs and behaviour) and found the same thing there. Huge cross over and lots of variability. Essentially personality is more important than sex.

Of course some of us knew this already, but great to have another really good piece of research to cite. Plus she speaks very well and very clearly - I really like her explanations about dimorphism and matching, very clear and logical and hard to refute.

Although of course many of the comments under the media reports don't appear able to read research and claim completely the opposite to the research in the paper...

Lweji Wed 02-Dec-15 06:48:19

But I think this type of research is interesting regarding professionals who handle transitions.
Aren't trans people supposed to have lived for a certain period of time as the opposite gender? It almost feels (for someone who is not involved at all) that professionals do push trans people to adopt and conform even more not only to the traditional aspect and attitudes associated with women but also with a bias towards the extremes.

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