ISSN 1671-3710
CN 11-4766/R

Advances in Psychological Science ›› 2015, Vol. 23 ›› Issue (4): 571-581.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1042.2015.00571

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Gender Differences in the Human Brain Structure and Function: Evidence from Neuroimaging Studies

YANG Tianliang; XIN Fei; LEI Xu   

  1. (Key Laboratory of Cognition and Personality (SWU), Ministry of Education; School of Psychology, Southwest University, Chongqing 400715, China)
  • Received:2014-06-06 Online:2015-04-15 Published:2015-04-15
  • Contact: LEI Xu, E-mail:


Recently, increased emphasis has been placed on the investigation of gender differences in the human brain. Neuroimaging techniques have broken new ground in studying the effects of gender on both brain structure and function. Using structural magnetic resonance imaging and diffusion tensor imaging, current research discusses gender differences and their changes with age in gray matter and white matter within three levels: focal brain region, brain subsystem and brain network. Moreover, current study also explores gender differences and their changes with age in the baseline brain activity, within above-mentioned three levels by electroencephalogram, positron emission tomography, functional magnetic resonance imaging. In addition, to better understand the evidence of gender influences on the brain, it is also helpful to discuss some common misconceptions about the topic. Although much progress has been made in the field of gender differences in the brain, significant controversy remains and more work should be done in the future. On the one hand, we should increase studies of brain mechanism about gender-specific mental disorders, and focus on the interaction effects of gene and environment on gender differences in the brain. On the other hand, we should also consider the dynamic characteristics of brain functional activity and combine multimodal neuroimaging techniques to further reveal gender differences in the brain.

Key words: gender differences, neuroimaging, brain structure, brain function