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Research Themes

The Gender Development Research Centre carries out research into many areas, including but not limited to:

  • Mini-puberty and the influence of androgens, such as testosterone, during prenatal and neonatal development on gender-typical behaviour and development
  • Biological and environmental factors that mediate or moderate sex differences in young children’s aggression
  • Whether children’s cognitive understanding of gender mediates hormonal influences on behaviour
  • The influence of androgens during prenatal development on brain structure in individuals with disorders of sex development (DSDs)
  • DSDs and gender dysphoria
  • Evolution of non-binary gender identities and overlap between autistic traits and gender dysphoria
  • The development of sexual orientation from childhood to adulthood and identifying early predictors of later sexual orientation
  • The relation between sexual orientation and mental health
  • Cognitive development in early infancy; why certain cognitive traits show sex differences early in life which then remain stable despite changes in social attitudes
  • The effect of early postnatal testosterone on mental rotation in infants at 3 and 5 months, and whether there is a sex difference in joint attention in infants between 3-5 months
  • Hormonal and parental contributions to infants' mental rotation abilities
  • What is the behavioural phenotype for individuals with DSDs and how can the psychological development of people with DSDs be optimized?
  • Do essentialist explanations of gender differences have negative consequences for society, and, if so, how can these be counteracted?

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

Mar 25, 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)

Nov 15, 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

Nov 06, 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

Nov 01, 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.

Listen to Debra Spencer on BBC Radio 4's 'Bringing Up Britain'

Jul 30, 2018

Dr Debra Spencer, Research Associate and Affiliated Lecturer in the GDRC, appeared in BBC Radio 4's 'Bringing Up Britain' programme, discussing aggression in children.

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