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Sex differences in human brain structure are already apparent at one month of age

31 January 2018

On average, men and women differ psychologically in small but reliable ways, such as in personality, interests, and cognitive performance, but the basis of these differences is up for debate. Are they innate or due to how we’re socialised?

Neuroscientists look for traction on this question by studying sex differences in the brain, premised on the idea that these might contribute to the observed psychological differences. However, studying the brains of adults, or even teenagers, still leads to spinning wheels, because culturally produced differences will show up in the brain too.

But how about one-month old infants, the subjects of a paperpublished in the journal Brain Structure and Function?  Since birth, babies at this age have spent most of their time sleeping and suckling with limited eyesight, so profound socialisation effects aren’t going to be a factor.

And yet, the new findings reveal that sex differences in a number of brain areas are already apparent.

Read more on our Research Digest blog.

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