Sex Does Not Equal Genitalia New Study Finds

A new study suggests that there is no difference between the male and female brain.

WebMD, the internet portal to self-diagnosis for serious diseases everywhere, has a section called “How Male and Female Brains Differ,” that states, “Recent studies highlight a long-held suspicion about the brains of males and females. They’re not the same… Scientists now know that sex hormones begin to exert their influence during development of the fetus.”

Until the advent of the MRI, scientists and doctors have long believed that the male and female brain differ based on their chromosomal make-up, but a new study released on November 30, 2015, in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences begs to differ and my end up shifting the paradigm on conventional perception regarding what makes people male and female.

Get ready to change your page WebMD because the 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,” eluding to the brain having a more mosaic feature than a binary function, a theory most of the general population believes in.

The first to examine sex differences in the brain concluding that brains do not fit into a definitive male/female variation, but that each brain is a veritable stew of both male and female [and everything in between] characteristics. The researched involved more than 1,400 MRI’s from multiple male and female brains primarily focusing on the section of the brain that is perceived as having the largest gender differences.

“These findings are corroborated by a similar analysis of personality traits, attitudes, interests, and behaviors of more than 5,500 individuals,” the study concludes, “which reveals that internal consistency is extremely rare. Our study demonstrates that, although there are sex/gender differences in the brain, human brains do not belong to one of two distinct categories: male brain/female brain.”

Looking at scans during the first test of 169 men and 112 women, the research defined “malelike” and “femalelike” as the “33 percent most extreme gender-difference scores on gray matter from 10 regions.” Researchers found little evidence of any male/female consistency across the sample size and only 6% of the brains were consistent with male/female “traits.”

A second analysis of “600 brains from 18- to 26-year-olds found that only 2.4 percent were internally consistent as male or female, while substantial variability was the rule for more than half (52 percent).” The study basically shows what the gender non-conforming and transgender community have been saying for decades, that there are very few individual brains that identify as binary male and female, but are comprised of a vast array of characteristics combining male, female and non-binary connectivity.

The report also stated, “Our results demonstrate that even when analyses are restricted to a small number of brain regions (or connections) showing the largest sex/gender differences, internal consistency is rare and is much less common than substantial variability (i.e., being at the one end of the ‘maleness-femaleness’ continuum on some elements and at the other end on other elements).”

Tel Aviv University psychobiologist Daphna Joel, who was part of the study, wrote that the findings have been consistent with other research on brain development and the hormonal control that is perceived to dominate over the brain’s functions. It was historically thought that the testosterone masculinization of the brain that occurred past the 12th week of gestation was the dominant factor is deciding the male/female difference, but according to the 2011 review in Nature Neouroscience, the development of the brain is far more complex than hormonal influence.

“The idea of a unified ‘masculine’ or ‘feminine’ personality turns out not to describe real people, Jordan-Young told Live Science “she said. “It describes stereotypes to which we constantly compare ourselves and each other, but more people are ‘gender non-conforming’ than we generally realize.”

Claire-Renee Kohner

My name is Claire-Renee Kohner and in January of 2014, I came out as transgender. My family fully supports my transition and, along with the Minneapolis trans community, my transition has been extremely positive. My journey should be fun, so keep your arms and legs inside the cart, it's going to be a wild ride.

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19 Responses to Sex Does Not Equal Genitalia New Study Finds

  1. Angelica Perduta December 2, 2015 at 3:54 pm

    damn… how do we justify the concept of ‘transgender’ if gender identity is not part of the brain structure then?

  2. SamRita December 2, 2015 at 7:28 pm

    Cara Ramsey says: “In other words, what this study suggests is that it’s even easier to be transgender than most people realize. A slight nudge of just a few critical small structures in the brain in utero would be enough to push the brain one direction while the body goes another.”

    You just made this up out of thin air, Cara. What scientists are actually is that the tiny differences are environmental induced. Pretending that you know how to diagram a brain is not helping your lie. It doesn’t suggest anything of the sort and there is no credible source that is saying that.

    “The bottom line is that saying there are differences in male and female brains is just not true. There is pretty compelling evidence that any differences are tiny and are the result of environment not biology,” said Prof Rippon.

    Prof Rippon points to earlier studies that showed the brains of London black cab drivers physically changed after they had acquired The Knowledge – an encyclopaedic recall of the capital’s streets.

    Neuroscientist Prof Gina Rippon, of Aston University, Birmingham, says gender differences emerge only through environmental factors and are not innate.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/science/science-news/10684179/Men-and-women-do-not-have-different-brains-claims-neuroscientist.html

    It’s also very shocking that the headline to this post is a flat out lie. What a bizarre thing to do. I guess this study is far more problematic for the fragile “gender identity” cult than I thought.

  3. Tana Pigeon December 2, 2015 at 10:05 pm

    I think you’re oversimplifying and politicizing this a bit, SamRita. The study quoted in the article is clear that there are structures typically associated with male and female brains, but fewer than what was previously thought and the overall makeup of male and female brains is not uniform across individuals. This is consistent with other studies, like autopsy reports, of transgender brains, which found much the same but that small pool of male/female structures made a big difference.

    Prof. Rippon is simply stating a scientific belief that is not new, it’s the old nature vs. nurture argument. Some scientists take a more hardline stance on one versus the other, though most agree that the end result is a combination of the two.

  4. SamRita December 2, 2015 at 10:45 pm

    Tano says: “The study quoted in the article is clear that there are structures typically associated with male and female brains” …

    No, you’re wrong, Tano. They aren’t. She even explains it very clearly in this Ted talk that she is using those terms to talk about it but there actually aren’t “male” and “female” structures and that is what the study proves.

    https://youtu.be/rYpDU040yzc?t=11m15s

    • Angelica Perduta December 3, 2015 at 4:01 am

      We can see differences in behavior between female and male animals and i don’t believe they are influenced by social pressures. In humans too it makes sense that for the sake of genetic survival innate behavior would differ depending what sex one is.
      In my personal experience men have had a tendency to take more risks and confront threats, thus giving women a better opportunity to save themselves and their genetic offspring.

  5. Cara Ramsey December 3, 2015 at 5:10 am

    The following studies all demonstrate consistent and observable differences in SPECIFIC structures within the brains of males and females.

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed?cmd=Search&doptcmdl=Citation&defaultField=Title%20Word&term=Garcia-Falgueras%5Bauthor%5D%20AND%20A%20sex%20difference%20in%20the%20hypothalamic%20uncinate%20nucleus%3A%20relationship%20to%20gender%20identity

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed?cmd=Search&doptcmdl=Citation&defaultField=Title%20Word&term=Rametti%5Bauthor%5D%20AND%20White%20matter%20microstructure%20in%20female%20to%20male%20transsexuals%20before%20cross-sex%20hormonal%20treatment.%20A%20diffusion%20tensor%20imaging%20study

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed?cmd=Search&doptcmdl=Citation&defaultField=Title%20Word&term=Rametti%5Bauthor%5D%20AND%20The%20microstructure%20of%20white%20matter%20in%20male%20to%20female%20transsexuals%20before%20cross-sex%20hormonal%20treatment.%20A%20DTI%20study

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed?cmd=Search&doptcmdl=Citation&defaultField=Title%20Word&term=Zhou%5Bauthor%5D%20AND%20A%20sex%20difference%20in%20the%20human%20brain%20and%20its%20relation%20to%20transsexuality

    Shall I go on? These are all peer reviewed NIH studies. Each study focuses on small specific differences in the brain. The study in this article looked at the TOTAL brain and noted there was no clear “male” or “female” pattern to the TOTAL brain, just to specific structures.

    The study referenced in this article notes that there are no “purely male” or “purely female” brains. That is ALL it noted. Which means that the tiny differences, such as those in the studies I linked above, become even more important in determining gender identity.

    Further, please note that gender identity is NOT behavior so don’t take this to mean that these differences mean that men and women must behave differently. In fact, behavior seems to be socialized. BUT, and this is a big caveat, that inner sense of being male, female, or neither (non-binary) is very likely aligned to those few small critical structures that show consistent measurable differences between male and female brains.

  6. SamRita December 3, 2015 at 2:41 pm

    Nothing you are talking about has anything to do with the brain, Angelicu. You are talking about environmental factors.

  7. Angelica Perduta December 3, 2015 at 3:50 pm

    well… If the environment is the same and the brains are the same then why would male and female animals behave differently? That’s just my thoughts on it. :/

  8. SamRita December 3, 2015 at 4:31 pm

    The study proved that there is no male or female brain in humans so now you want to talk about pigeons. I understand this doesn’t work well with the transgender narrative but it’s straight up proven that there is no male brain or female brain. Science keeps proving this fact.

    • Angelica Perduta December 3, 2015 at 5:15 pm

      I have seen scientific papers that say quite the opposite.

  9. SamRita December 3, 2015 at 5:24 pm

    Which is why this comprehensive study was necessary and it puts the nail in the coffin of brain-sex. It doesn’t exist.

  10. SamRita December 3, 2015 at 6:44 pm

    Cara Ramsey says: “The study in this article looked at the TOTAL brain and noted there was no clear “male” or “female” pattern to the TOTAL brain, just to specific structures.”

    This is completely false, Ramsey. I’m not going to even explain it to you because you clearly didn’t read it and I suspect that you can’t. Because you don’t understand it. What you are saying is just simply absolutely false. You have demonstrated that you did not read the study and couldn’t possibly understand it and have absolutely no idea what you’re talking about and just want to cling to an idea that has been disproven. You don’t even know what is contained in the study, so you don’t get to talk with any authority, Cara. Sorry. You very obviously did not read the study, you literally just made up what the study was about. There is no such thing as a male brain and a female brain.

  11. Cara Ramsey December 4, 2015 at 12:49 am

    SamRita, you have not explained the dozens of other neurobiological studies that have found consistent verifiable gender differences in specific structures or substructures in the brain. Did you even look at the sample four I linked? Are you saying every one of those PEER REVIEWED studies is therefore wrong?

    From this latest study itself, it says “Rather, most brains are comprised of unique “mosaics” of features, some more common in females compared with males, some more common in males compared with females, and some common in both females and males.”

    See that? It says some are more common in males and some are more common in females for specific structures. Clearly this study also declares that individual structures in the brain can be more female or more male. It’s right there in the text. It does NOT state that all structures are equally distributed in all male and female brains. It says some are clearly more commonly male, some are more commonly female, and some are common to both. In addition, that means that some males will have female like structures less commonly where that structure is male in most male brains, and it means that some females will have male structures in locations that are more commonly female in females.

    And yes, I have read the study. Read it again yourself, please.

    • SamRita December 4, 2015 at 4:55 am

      Cara, first you literally MADE UP what Daphna Joel’s study is about, now you’re bring up some papers, not studies. So even though you have demonstrated that you clearly do not understand the scope of the study that was done, now I am expected to familiarize myself with some papers you read? If I feel like it later on, I’ll go over your links and come back and dismantle them. I can’t make any promises because not everybody is sitting home with nothing to do except read papers when a comprehensive study has been done to disprove Lady Brain already. It is unnecessary for me to do yet because you don’t understand the scope of the study, you don’t seem to realize that. You don’t realize that this study has slammed the door shut on Lady Brain, forever. Anyone who knows anything knows that.

      Lady Brain has been disproven for decades now and science continues to disprove it again and again. Thankfully for women, this study was the final nail in the Lady Brain coffin. I am sorry that this is such terrible news for the transgender narrative but Lady Brain does not exist. “Male” and “female” brain structures are erroneous and do not exist. As such neither did Black Brains and White Brains which also had to be disproven due to the incredulity of racists. Please try to shed this horrible antiquated misogyny that runs so rampant in the transgender narrative instead of clinging so desperately to misogynistic, disproven fairy tales about Lady’s Brains and Lady’s Souls.

      • Angelica Perduta December 4, 2015 at 11:00 pm

        I think one needs to be cautious of assuming anything in science is ever a definitive study. I don’t believe for a minute that male and female brains are on average the same.

        A quick google tells me: “The average brain weight of the adult male was 1336 gr; for the adult female 1198 gr.”

        What saddens me the most is when reputable scientists will perverted and skew their research for the sake of political or ideological expedience and even sadder when they don’t realize they are doing it.

  12. Angelica Perduta December 4, 2015 at 11:05 pm

    Dear H.C. Back you may have a point there, but personally I suspect that you are using a fake ID to act as a cyber troll. I suspect you have nothing constructive to say, and you are probably a derange lunatic yourself.
    Get well soon 💩

  13. Cara Ramsey December 5, 2015 at 12:16 am

    SamRita,

    I went straight to the source and asked Professor Joel if this study contradicts the earlier studies. Here is her response and note that she agrees with me – that it is likely that a few key critical structures control our sense of gender identity.

    Now you can argue with her.

    Dear Cara,
    thank you for your question.

    this is a great question to which we don’t yet know the answer.
    this is because the work on differences between transgender and cisgender people has not looked into internal consistency. i.e., they didn’t check whether differences found in several structures (they found differences in more than one measurement) were internally consistent or not. we hope to look into these data soon.

    in this sense our study doesn’t contradict any previous study, because no one did the analysis of internal consistency. they stopped at the stage of listing differences in single structures/measures. our study only contradicts the common belief in a male and a female brain.

    while we don’t know the answer yet, you are right, and it is surely possible that there are a few structures in the brain that underly the sense of gender identity whereas the rest of the brain is mosaic.

    best wishes,
    Daphna

    ————————-
    Prof. Daphna Joel
    School of Psychological Sciences and Sagol School of Neuroscience
    Tel-Aviv University
    Tel-Aviv, Israel

  14. Zoe Brain December 19, 2015 at 6:39 am

    Regarding the limits of neuroplasticity, and how these can be tested:

    First, noted Radical Feminist Gina Rippon’s work:

    Fine C, Jordan-Young R, Kaiser A, Rippon G. – Plasticity, plasticity, plasticity… and the rigid problem of sex Trends Cogn Sci. 2013 Nov;17(11):550-1
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24176517

    Second, a rebuttal to the unevidenced conjectures in it

    L.Cahill Equal ≠ The Same: Sex Differences in the Human Brain Cerebrum. 2014 Mar-Apr; 2014: 5.
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4087190/

    “To make matters worse, studying sex differences in the brain was for a long time distasteful to large swaths of academia. Regarding sex differences research, Gloria Steinem once said that it’s “anti-American, crazy thinking to do this kind of research.” Indeed, in about the year 2000, senior colleagues strongly advised me against studying sex differences because it would “kill” my career

    “But wait,” argue the anti–sex difference authors, “the brain is plastic”—that is, molded by experience. One group of authors uses the word plasticity in the title of their paper three times to make sure we understand its importance. (As someone who has studied brain plasticity for more than 35 years, I find the implication that it never occurred to me amusing.) ”

    All those wishing to understand sex influences on the human brain need to fully grasp the implications of the animal literature, and then think about the Udry data, which captures an incontrovertible fact from brain science: Yes, brains are plastic, but only within the limits set by biology. It is decidedly not the case that environmental experience can turn anything into anything, and equally easily, in the brain. The specious plasticity argument invoked by anti–sex difference authors appears to be just a modern incarnation of the long-debunked “blank slate” view of human brain function, the idea that all people’s brains start out as blank slates, thus are equally mold-able to become anything through experience”

    This would be an interesting ideological argument of no real worth and moment, except for the cases where the Radical Feminist “no difference” conjecture has been used to justify medical intervention.

    Discordant Sexual Identity in Some Genetic Males with Cloacal Exstrophy Assigned to Female Sex at Birth by Reiner and Gearhart, N Engl J Med. 2004 January 22; 350(4): 333–341.
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1421517/

    RESULTS Eight of the 14 subjects assigned to female sex declared themselves male during the course of this study, whereas the 2 raised as males remained male. Subjects could be grouped according to their stated sexual identity. Five subjects were living as females; three were living with unclear sexual identity, although two of the three had declared themselves male; and eight were living as males, six of whom had reassigned themselves to male sex. All 16 subjects had moderate-to-marked interests and attitudes that were considered typical of males. Follow-up ranged from 34 to 98 months.

    If the Rippon conjecture of the constant “drip drip drip” of environment being not just significant, but wholly responsible for gender identity and thus change (via some unknown mechanism) to areas affecting gender identity, then surgical alteration to a female norm, a female upbringing, name, clothing, socialisation and so on would have resulted in the patients invariably identifying as female, with broadly female-typical interests and attitudes.

    The exact opposite of experimental results.

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