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Gender Development Research Centre


The GDRC's Dr Debra Spencer and Prof Melissa Hines have a paper published in the Journal of Neuroscience Research on 'Sex differences in associations between spatial ability and corpus callosum morphology'.

For full article, co-authored with Florian Kurth and Eileen Luders, click here.

Rotating mental representations of objects is accompanied by widespread bilateral brain activations. Thus, interhemispheric communication channels may play a relevant part when engaging in mental rotation tasks. Indeed, links between mental rotation and dimensions of the corpus callosum — the brain's main commissure system — have been reported. However, existing findings are sparse and inconsistent across studies. Here we set out to further characterize the nature of any such links, including their exact location across the corpus callosum. For this purpose, we applied an advanced image analysis approach assessing callosal thickness at 100 equidistant points in a sample of 38 healthy adults (19 men, 19 women), aged between 22 and 45 years. We detected a sex interaction, with significant structure–performance relationships in women, but not in men. Specifically, better mental rotation performance was linked to a thicker female corpus callosum within regions of the callosal splenium, posterior midbody, and anterior third. These findings may suggest sex differences in problem solving strategies where in women, more than in men, stronger interhemispheric connectivity — especially between occipitoparietal, frontal, and prefrontal regions — is associated with improved task performance.


Latest news

Members of the GDRC attend workshop on 'Sex Differences, Dimorphisms and Divergences' in Erice, Sicily

10 June 2019

Prof Melissa Hines, Dr Debra Spencer, Prof Marcia Collaer and Dr Vickie Pasterski of the GDRC attended the workshop in May 2019, and Prof Hines gave a presentation on 'Human Gender Development'.

Ellen Robertson's talk at University of Marin Barleti, Albania

25 March 2019

Ellen Robertson gave a talk at the University of Marin Barleti, Albania, entitled 'Social Representations and the Sworn Virgins of Northern Albania', reflecting her PhD interests. More information on this topic can be found in a reference entry Ellen wrote for UCL's Encyclopedia of Informality.

Presentation by Ellen Robertson at Cambridge Interdisciplinary Performance Network (CIPN)

15 November 2018

Ellen Robertson, PhD candidate in the GDRC, will be giving a seminar entitled 'Dressing the Self/Other in Greek Drama, Italian Opera and Rural Albania' as part of the Cambridge Interdisciplinary Performance Network (CIPN) Series (CIPN) fortnightly Tuesday seminar series on Tuesday 27 November 2018.

Welcome to Professor Marcia Collaer

6 November 2018

The GDRC is very pleased to welcome Prof Marcia Collaer to Cambridge! Marcia is Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience Affiliate at Middlebury College, VT, USA. She is currently a Visiting Scholar in the GDRC, Department of Psychology and Overseas Fellow at Churchill College for 2018-19.

Group members at Gender Development Research Conference, San Francisco

1 November 2018

Prof Melissa Hines, Dr Debra Spencer and PhD candidate Marta Beneda went to the Gender Development Research Conference, San Francisco. This event is held every two years in San Francisco and hosts many of the world’s leading researchers of gender development from interdisciplinary fields. Prof Hines gave a talk and the group also presented two posters.