Neurology: Gender Differences In The Brain Don't Exist

First Posted: Oct 30, 2015 12:36 PM EDT

The hippocampus--a part of the brain that consolidates new memories and helps connect emotions to senses--is not larger in females than males, contrary to previous beliefs.

A recent study challenges a common claim that was thought to explain why women are more emotional than male counterparts--showing a tendency toward greater emotional expressiveness, better verbal memory and stronger interpersonal skills. The study also overturned previous thoughts on the size of the corpus callosum or the way the left and right hemispheres of the brain process language.

In this recent study, researchers conducted a meta-analysis of structural MRI volumes that involved 76 published papers with over 6,000 healthy individuals. The study results showed no significant difference in hippocampal size between men and women. 

"Sex differences in the brain are irresistible to those looking to explain stereotypic differences between men and women," said Lise Eliot, PhD, associate professor of neuroscience at the university's medical school and the lead study author, in a news release. "They often make a big splash, in spite of being based on small samples. But as we explore multiple datasets and are able to coalesce very large samples of males and females, we find these differences often disappear or are trivial."

The study is published in the journal Neurolmage.

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