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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

Review published: Human Gender Development

21 August 2020

A review on Human Gender Development by Professor Hines was recently published in Neuroscience & Biobehavioural Reviews. This link will take you to the review. Highlights of the review include: Early testosterone (T) exposure and socialization influence gender development. Early T influences gender role behaviour...

Professor Hines on BBC Radio Four Women's Hour

27 July 2020

On Tuesday 21 July, Professor Melissa Hines took part in a discussion on Gender neutral parenting on BBC Radio 4's Women's Hour. You can listen here (the discussion starts approximately 23 minutes into the programme).

Meta-analysis by Professor Hines and Professor Collaer

7 April 2020

Professor Melissa Hines and visiting scholar Professor Marcia Collaer have published a meta-analysis in the Archives of Sexual Behavior entitled 'No evidence for elevated prenatal androgen exposure in congenital adrenal hyperplasia: a meta-analysis' in which the potential influence of prenatal androgen exposure on spatial...

Professor Hines gives talk at LIDo teaching week 2020

6 April 2020

Professor Melissa Hines gave a talk during February's LIDo teaching week on her research into Human gender and early androgen exposure. The London Interdisciplinary Doctoral Programme (LIDo) teaching week brought together students from all over the country to listen to 24 eminent guest speakers from academia and industry...

How Large Are Gender Differences in Toy Preferences? Recent systematic review by Jac Davis and Professor Hines

2 April 2020

Former GDRC PhD student, Jac Davis, and Professor Hines recently published an article 'How large are gender differences in toy preferences? A systematic review and meta-analysis of toy preference research' in the Archives of Sexual Behaviour. Follow this link to access the full article.