For generations, humans have believed that there was some sort of major differentiator between the brains of males and females. New research has shown that although human brains do show some differences between sexes, there really is no such thing as a distinctly gendered brain. Most brains show signs of being both male and female.
In a new study that was the first ever to look at sexual differences throughout the entire brain, very few consistent differences between men and women were found. In order for a brain to be considered distinctly gendered, the brain must present multiple structures that can be distinctly identified as male or female. These identifiers must be able to consistently differentiate between actual men and women.
Science writer Stephanie Pappas wrote, “Consider the peacock, with its sexually dimorphic tail. The difference in color and size is consistent between the sexes. There’s no subset of peahens brandishing iridescent purple feathers.”
Ultimately, scientists could not find any consistent differences between brains of different sexes. Very few of the brains that were studied were entirely consistent as either “male” or “female”. Instead, the vast majority of the brains displayed traits of both genders.
The team of scientists wrote, “Internal consistency is rare and is much less common than substantial variability.”
Psychologist John Barker, who wasn’t involved in the study, added, “The study is very helpful in providing biological support for something that we’ve known for some time. Gender isn’t binary.”
Scientists believe that the brain develops multiple genders in a variety of ways. How a brain develops has to do with everything from environment, genetics and various external factors. However, brain structure isn’t believed to be one of those factors.
So it turns out that most of us have a little bit of both masculinity and femininity inside our brains. There really is no such thing as one distinct mental gender.