We have always believed that females are purely more emotional than males because the hippocampus – part of the brain intimately involved in motivation, connecting emotions to the senses and the formation of memories – is larger in females than in males. However, a new study at Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science has overturned this belief of gender differences in the brain and found that the size of hippocampus is same in both men and women.
According to the paper published in the journal NeuroImage, the discovery came from a meta-analysis of structural MRI volumes involving more than 6000 healthy individuals including findings from 76 published papers. The results showed that there was no significant difference in hippocampal size between men and women.
“Sex differences in the brain are irresistible to those looking to explain stereotypic differences between men and women,” said Lise Eliot, PhD, associate professor of neuroscience.
“They often make a big splash, in spite of being based on small samples. But as we explore multiple datasets and are able to coalesce very large samples of males and females, we find these differences often disappear or are trivial.”
Dr. Eliot noted that there is no difference in the size of the corpus callosum in both males and females, which was once thought to be different in size; and also meta-analyses by other researchers have also disproved other purported gender differences in the brain.
“Many people believe there is such a thing as a ‘male brain’ and a ‘female brain,'” Dr. Eliot said. “But when you look beyond the popularized studies — at collections of all the data — you often find that the differences are minimal.”
[Hat Tip: RFUMS, NeuroImage – The human hippocampus is not sexually-dimorphic: Meta-analysis of structural MRI volumes, Image: Shutterstock]