A new study claims to have found scientific evidence that brain differences between men and women begin in the womb.
Male brains were found to be “more susceptible to environmental influences,” according to the study published in the journal Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience, the Daily Mail of London reported.
Brain scans of 118 fetuses in the second half of pregnancy were analyzed for links between gender and the connectivity of a developing brain.
The differences are biological, said Professor Moriah Thomason of New York University.
One of the main differences was in connectivity across distant areas of the brain.
Female brains growing in the uterus produced “long-range” networks. This was less true of boys, she said, meaning they were “more susceptible to environmental influences.”
The Daily Mail quoted a scholar who contested the findings, Gina Rippon, author of “The Gendered Brain.”
She assserted that “in pursuit of a hunt-the-difference agenda,” the study’s researchers “drew unfounded conclusions.”
Critics of Rippon’s book, however, argue her case is based on an extremist position that denies biology has any role in shaping the differences in the male and female brains.
Simon Baron-Cohen, professor of developmental psychopathology at the University of Cambridge, wrote in a column for the Times of London that “most biologists and neuroscientists agree that prenatal biology and culture combine to explain average sex differences in the brain.”
Rippon is a professor of cognitive neuroimaging at the Aston Brain Centre at Aston University in Birmingham, Birmingham, England.j
WND reported in September a professor in Sweden was accused of bigotry by students for citing empirical research showing differences between men and women that are “biologically founded.”
A complainant filed with the university argued the professors statements were at odds with the Swedish “value base” that requires all schools uphold the values of egalitarianism and equality of the sexes.