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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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Paper on infants' performance in mental rotation tasks published in Developmental Science

Nov 17, 2017

The GDRC's Dr Miha Constantinescu and Prof Melissa Hines have a paper published in Developmental Science showing a correlation between testosterone and infants' performance in mental rotation tasks.

Prof Hines and Dr Spencer present a talk at EASE meeting

Nov 09, 2017

The East Anglia Society for Endocrinology will meet on Tuesday November 14th at The Rosie Hospital, CUH.

Hormones & Child Behaviour Study update

Oct 24, 2017

The GDRC has produced a newsletter from Melissa Hines' Hormones & Child Behaviour Study, available to read here.

Researching sworn virgins in Albania

Jul 19, 2017

The GDRC's Ellen Robertson is in Albania for four months, studying the traditional practice of women taking a vow of chastity and living as men - becoming 'sworn virgins', or burrneshas.

Talk on analyzing the corpus callosum by Dr Eileen Luders, UCLA

Jul 18, 2017

Join us on Monday 24th July at 12pm for a talk by Dr Eileen Luders, Associate Professor at the Department of Neurology, UCLA, about analyzing the corpus callosum in the human brain.

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