ENS, amphithéâtre Dussane, 45 rue d'Ulm, 75005 Paris
Abstract: Are the brains of women and men the same or different? Or maybe it’s the wrong question? Sex-related variables affect brain structure and function and there are group-level differences between women and men in specific measures of brain and behavior. These are often taken as supporting the existence of ‘male’ and ‘female’ brains. Studies in rats reveal, however, that sex effects on the brain may be different under different conditions – an observation that led me to formulate the ‘mosaic’ hypothesis – the claim that sex differences in the brain do not add-up consistently in individuals; rather, most brains comprise of both features that are more common in females and features that are more common in males. I will describe the development of the binary conceptualization of the relations between sex and the brain in response to the challenge posed by the mosaic hypothesis and its supporting evidence, and present the results of our recent studies, in which we applied machine learning algorithms to better understand the relations between sex and the brain beyond the binary.
The Department d'Etudes Cognitives organizes a monthly colloquium with guests from all over the world.