Biological Sex and the Brain

Research interest in sex differences in the human brain has been fueled in part by a desire to better understand the well-documented gender differences in psychopathology. For example, women are more likely to experience depression or anxiety disorders than men, whereas males are more likely to be on the autism spectrum than females. Prior to the 1970s, studies of sex differences in human brains were mostly limited to autopsies. Since then, the increased availability of neuroimaging techniques, such as structural and functional magnetic resonance imaging, positron emission tomography, and diffusion tensor imaging scans, has allowed researchers to compare sex differences in both structure and function (sexual dimorphism) in living brains across the life span. However, because these techniques are costly, studies typically have small ...

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