Brain Mapping Gender Identity: What Makes A Boy A Girl?

A recent brain mapping study investigates gender identity in a new, more scientific way.

An article written by Susan Scutti and posted at the Medical Daily reports on a study published last year which explores the extent to which brain anatomy is associated with gender identity.

About the study;

“Specifically, the UCLA researchers chose to investigate potential neuroanatomical variations associated with transsexualism; in particular, they applied a “whole-brain approach” in which they would compare the thickness of the cortex across the lateral and medial brain cortical surfaces at thousands of surface points.”

I’ve downloaded the PDF of the study.

From the Abstract;

“Background: The degree to which one identifies as male or female has a profound impact on one’s life. Yet, there is a limited understanding of what contributes to this important characteristic termed gender identity. In order to reveal factors influencing gender identity, studies have focused on people who report strong feelings of being the opposite sex, such as male-to-female (MTF) transsexuals. Method: To investigate potential neuroanatomical variations associated with transsexualism, we compared the regional thickness of the cerebral cortex between 24 MTF transsexuals who had not yet been treated with cross-sex hormones and 24 age-matched control males. Results: Results revealed thicker cortices in MTF transsexuals, both within regions of the left hemisphere (i.e., frontal and orbito-frontal cortex, central sulcus, perisylvian regions, paracentral gyrus) and right hemisphere (i.e., pre-/post-central gyrus, parietal cortex, temporal cortex, precuneus, fusiform, lingual, and orbito-frontal gyrus). Conclusion: These findings provide further evidence that brain anatomy is associated with gender identity, where measures in MTF transsexuals appear to be shifted away from gender-congruent men.”

Included is a list of references for further investigation.