|Type of paper:
|Gender Biology Sexes Anthropology Stereotypes Social issue
Sex and gender are two terms that have been used interchangeably, but their meanings are quite different. Sex refers to the differences in biological aspects that is their genetic differences. Contrary, gender can be illustrated as the roles of both male and female in a society. To differentiate the two definitions, a study was conducted on Sex/gender differences based on their brain anatomy, behaviour and brain function.
Human beings, for many years now, have been fascinated by the psychological ideas on gender differences where many believe that these differences are biologically determined. However, this study illustrates well that these differences are brought about by hormonal and genetic influences that affect the functioning of brain and brain anatomy or both.
Gender brain differences are, in most cases, shaped based on experiences, stereotypes, culture or even through education. Moreover, this new awareness in the fluctuations on behaviour, brain function and anatomy give sight on the mostly reported gender differences. Sexual dimorphism is a term that should be distinguished from sexual differences. The term sexual dimorphism is a condition whereby two sexes that belong to the same species show different characteristics that are beyond their differences in their sexual organs.
Researchers pointed out that the term sexual dimorphism should apply only in aspects that demonstrate two distinctive forms. For example, the x and y chromosomes that are found in the genetics of male and female. However, behavioural and brain differences are not dimorphism since the features are reported to overlap in most cases when its distribution in both female and male is considered. Besides, dimorphism is very rare in the brain of humans. The primary sex and gender differences in human being in the central nucleus of the hypothalamus, where it is said to be double in size for males as compared to females. A third of the studies conducted, however, proved that the central nucleus of the hypothalamus in both male and female is of the same size. Terms like "male brains" and " female brains" should however not be used since it is almost impossible to outline dimorphic and typical features which differentiate the two genders.
To give a clear difference between sexual dimorphism and sex differences, we apply the formula d= (MM-MF) / SW where d represents the normalized contrast between male and female gender concerning a specific measure. MM represents the male mean score; MF stands for female means score and SW the standard deviation within a group.
This study investigated 100 men and 100 female where they were both investigated for different performances and distributed separately and normally for men and female. The d values obtained were as follows; small (0.20), medium (0.50) and large (0.80). An overlapping distribution was thus obtained based on the performances of both female and male. Taking, for instance, the case where d is 0.5, 69% of the male performance was above the female's mean. 80% of the two performances overlapped, and this showed that there is a 64% higher chance for a male to be picked than females in case of a random pick.
In the case where d is 0.8, an overlap for female and male distributions of 48% and above .92% of male will be above the female's mean thus, 84% of a person selected at random from male group is expected to have a higher brain volume than a person from the female group.
Conclusively, it can be seen that even for larger d it is also very difficult to interpret sex differences and gender.
Cahill, L. (2006). Why sex matters for neuroscience. Nature reviews neuroscience, 7(6), 477.Retrieved from http://www.duluth.umn.edu/biology/documents/Meitzen2.pdf
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