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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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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.

Jac Davis publishes blog post on LD4D 'Livestock data for decisions' web page

Jul 03, 2018

Jac Davis, PhD candidate in the GDRC, published a blog post on the Livestock data for decisions web page titled 'Integrating gender into livestock projects: How data can help'.

New publication on 'Sex differences in associations between spatial ability and corpus callosum morphology' published in Journal of Neuroscience Research

Jun 18, 2018

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'.

Ellen Robertson (PhD candidate) presents a talk as part of the SDP seminar series

May 30, 2018

Ellen Robertson, PhD candidate in the GDRC, presented a talk on her research 'Social representations of women who live as men in northern Albania' as part of the Social and Developmental Psychology seminar series.

PhD candidate Marta Beneda wins second prize in British Psychological Society poster competition

May 24, 2018

Marta Beneda, PhD candidate in the GDRC, attended the British Psychological Society's annual conference, 02-04 May 2018. She won second prize in the poster competition for her poster on 'Do infants prefer dolls of the same sex? Sex-typical toy preferences in Poland and in the UK'.

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