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Human brains aren't distinctly male or female - study

Monday, December 14, 2015 - 01:49

Scans show there's no such thing as a 'male' or 'female' brain, according to an Israeli research team. Edward Baran reports.

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The old adage says men are from Mars and women are from Venus. But a new Israeli study suggests that in fact there's no such thing as a male or female brain. Instead human brains share a mix of masculine and feminine features. (SOUNDBITE) (English) PROFESSOR DAPHNA JOEL, TEL-AVIV UNIVERSITY, SAYING: "It's very very rare to find someone who has only masculine or only feminine characteristics and it's much more common to find people who have both masculine and feminine characteristics". The research was based on close analysis of more than 1,400 human brains and showed they vary in their composition regardless of gender. A male and female zone was defined for each region of the brain based on data sets. Many more individuals had brains with both 'male' and 'female' features. Researchers argue gender is therefore non-binary, and the idea that if you are a female or a male it implies certain behaviours has no scientific basis. (SOUNDBITE) (English) PROFESSOR DAPHNA JOEL, TEL-AVIV UNIVERSITY, SAYING: "Each one is an individual and we should stop treating people according to the form of their genitals and start treating people according to their specific characteristics and interests etc". That concept in particular is receiving the attention of Hollywood in the new movie "The Danish Girl" which stars Oscar-winning British actor Eddie Redmayne and tells the story of 1920s transsexual pioneer Lili Elbe. (SOUNDBITE) (English) ACTOR, EDDIE REDMAYNE, SAYING; "What I learned from this experience is that gender is fluid in the way that sexuality is fluid and we have bits of everything in us." Indeed, those behind the research say they envision a future where people are not so routinely classified on their gender alone.

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Human brains aren't distinctly male or female - study

Monday, December 14, 2015 - 01:49