Both you and I have grown up in a world of stereotypes. Whether you like it or not these widely accepted assumptions shape us and how we are viewed in the world, especially when it comes to gender.

I was raised with books that showed me pictures of nurturing, maternal women and rugged, money-earning men. TV shows conveyed to me the idea that I was more sensitive simply because I was a woman. They told my guy friends that it was not cool to cry because they had a penis. A penis means you’re masculine right?

I remember sitting in a university lecture on a cold wintery day when it started to make sense to me. All this bullshit I have been fed over the years is a result of one thing: science.

Both you and I have grown up in a world of stereotypes. I was raised with books that showed me pictures of nurturing, maternal women and rugged, money-earning men.

[…] Last month a study on the human brain showed that we were wrong: turns out brain structure is not gender-specific. The study focused on the hippocampus. Everyone has two of them, one in the left hemisphere of the brain and the other in the right. The hippocampus is the region in the brain associated with short and long term memory, emotion and spatial navigation.

The group got together healthy individuals of all ages and conducted MRI studies on each of them only to find that there wereno differences between male or female hippocampal size.

According to Dr. Lise Eliot, an associate professor of neuroscience at Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science, until recently the general consensus was that females had a higher hippocampal volume than men. This supports the assumption that females show “greater emotional expressiveness, stronger interpersonal skills and better verbal memory.” Basically the idea that women think too much, cry more and remember everything a man does has been a phenomenon indirectly supported by science. That is until Eliot and a team of researchers conducted a study that would fundamentally challenge this “general consensus” and effectively, prove it wrong.

© and source/ rest: theplaidzebra.

And the abstract from the paper (sciencedirect): Tan, A., Ma, W., Vira, A., Marwha, D. and Eliot, L. (2015). The human hippocampus is not sexually-dimorphic: Meta-analysis of structural MRI volumes. NeuroImage, 124, pp.350-366.

Hippocampal atrophy is found in many psychiatric disorders that are more prevalent in women. Sex differences in memory and spatial skills further suggest that males and females differ in hippocampal structure and function. We conducted the first meta-analysis of male–female difference in hippocampal volume (HCV) based on published MRI studies of healthy participants of all ages, to test whether the structure is reliably sexually dimorphic. Using four search strategies, we collected 68 matched samples of males’ and females’ uncorrected HCVs (in 4418 total participants), and 36 samples of male and female HCVs (2183 participants) that were corrected for individual differences in total brain volume (TBV) or intracranial volume (ICV). Pooled effect sizes were calculated using a random-effects model for left, right, and bilateral uncorrected HCVs and for left and right HCVs corrected for TBV or ICV. We found that uncorrected HCV was reliably larger in males, with Hedges’ g values of 0.545 for left hippocampus, 0.526 for right hippocampus, and 0.557 for bilateral hippocampus. Meta-regression revealed no effect of age on the sex difference in left, right, or bilateral HCV. In the subset of studies that reported it, both TBV (g = 1.085) and ICV (g = 1.272) were considerably larger in males. Accordingly, studies reporting HCVs corrected for individual differences in TBV or ICV revealed no significant sex differences in left and right HCVs (Hedges’ g ranging from + 0.011 to − 0.206). In summary, we found that human males of all ages exhibit a larger HCV than females, but adjusting for individual differences in TBV or ICV results in no reliable sex difference. The frequent claim that women have a disproportionately larger hippocampus than men was not supported.

(Excerpt etc. first posted on feimineach.com. Orig. attribution above.)

research: Science finally supports that we are all born as blank slates and gender is merely a construct