Male and Female Brains Don't Exist: You Have a Combination of Both Traits

First Posted: Dec 01, 2015 08:41 AM EST

What's the difference between a male and female brain? There isn't one, according to scientists. Researchers have scanned both male and female brains and have found that there is, effectively, no difference between the two.

In the past, some have claimed that male brains are better at business, while female brains are better at multitasking. Now, though, scientists have found that there's no such thing as a male or female brain, according to the first search for sex differences across the entire human brain.

"Our study demonstrates that although there are sex/gender differences in brain structure, brains do not fall into two classes, one typical of males and the other typical of females, nor are they aligned along a 'male brain-female brain' continuum," wrote Daphna Joel, one of the researchers.

In this latest study, the researchers looked for differences in brain scans taken from 1,400 people between the ages of 13 and 85. The scientists looked for differences in the size of brain regions as well as the connections between them. In total, they identified 29 brain regions that seem to be different sizes in self-identified males and females.

However, when the researchers looked at each individual brain scan, they found that very few people had all of the brain features they might be expected to have based on their sex. Only between 0 and 8 percent of people had "all-female" or "all-male" brains. Most people were in the middle. In other words, there was no such thing as a female or male brain.

"People get wedded to the idea that being male or female is highly predictive of having different aptitudes or career choices," said Margaret McCarthy, one of the researchers, in an interview with The Mirror. "This study fights against the idea that these outcomes are based on biological differences, as opposed to cultural expectations."

The new study is published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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