Are sex differences in human brain structure associated with sex differences in behaviour?

van Eijk, Liza, Zhu, Dajiang, Couvy-Duchesne, Baptiste, Strike, Lachlan T., Lee, Anthony J., Hansell, Narelle K., Thompson, Paul M., de Zubicaray, Greig I., Mcmahon, Katie L., Wright, Margaret J., and Zietsch, Brendan P. (2021) Are sex differences in human brain structure associated with sex differences in behaviour? Psychological Science, 32 (8). pp. 1183-1197.

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On average, men and women differ in brain structure and behaviour, raising the possibility of a link between sex differences in brain and behaviour. But women and men are also subject to different societal and cultural norms. We navigated this challenge by investigating variability of sex-differentiated brain structure within each sex. Using data from the Queensland Twin IMaging study (N=1,040) and Human Connectome Project (N=1,113), we obtained data-driven measures of individual differences along a male-female dimension for brain and behaviour based on average sex differences in brain structure and behaviour, respectively. We found a weak association between these brain and behavioural differences, driven by brain size. These brain and behavioural differences were moderately heritable. Our findings suggest that behavioural sex differences are to some extent related to sex differences in brain structure, but that this is mainly driven by differences in brain size, and causality should be interpreted cautiously.

Item ID: 67988
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1467-9280
Keywords: masculinization, brain structure, neuroimaging, MRI, twin modelling
Copyright Information: © The Author(s) 2021. Under SAGE's Green Open Access policy, the Accepted Version of the article may be posted in the author's institutional repository and reuse is restricted to non-commercial and no derivative uses.
Date Deposited: 11 May 2021 02:41
FoR Codes: 52 PSYCHOLOGY > 5204 Cognitive and computational psychology > 520401 Cognition @ 50%
32 BIOMEDICAL AND CLINICAL SCIENCES > 3209 Neurosciences > 320999 Neurosciences not elsewhere classified @ 50%
SEO Codes: 28 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 2801 Expanding knowledge > 280121 Expanding knowledge in psychology @ 100%
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