Claim: “Male and female brains wired differently”

Male and Female Brains DTI ScanBetween 2-3 December 2013, reports emerged through the Guardian newspaper, followed swiftly by the Independent, that a new scientific study had demonstrated for the first time that “the brains of men and women [are] wired differently.” The media stories were based on a study by the University of Pennsylvania (UPenn) which appeared to find that many of the connections in a typical male brain run between the front and back regions, and are mostly confined to individual hemispheres. In contrast (on average), the connections in women’s brains were more likely to run from side to side between the left and right hemispheres. The only region where men had more ‘between-hemispheric’ neural connectivity was the cerebellum, which plays a vital role in motor control.

True or False?

Given the complexity of the issue, and the fact that new research is constantly being conducted, one can conclude that the statement that “male and female brains are wired differently” is at best largely true. Evidence has been presented which casts doubt on the theory of ‘hardwiring’, but the fact remains that the DTI scans showed clear differences in neural connectivity between males and females.

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