Do we need diversity in Neuroscience?


Do we need diversity in Neuroscience?

“Many use neuroscientific sex/gender differences to explain and partly justify social and behavioral differences. However, the research of the past 50 years and particularly of the last 10 years has shown that sex/gender differences in terms of cognitive functions are less clear than previously assumed.” Lutz Jäncke 2018

This year Lutz Jäncke contributed a comprehensive and revealing „mini-review“ on the current research status of gender / sex differences and sexual dimorphism in terms of brain anatomy, function, behaviour and cognition.

Based on a review on sex/gender differences in brain research, he argues that they are some sex/gender
differences on different levels in research. However, these differences are still difficult to assess inestimable or not as large as argued in previous studies. While the picture of gender / sex differences gets more precise and inestimable through current research at the same time, other factors need to get more into the focus, like cultural and social factors.

In addition, intersection of gender/sex with cultural / social factors maybe also need to be considered. These intersecting variables include, but are not limited to: genetics, age, sex hormones, reproductive status (pre- or post-pubertal, virgin, or numerous pregnancies), body composition, comorbidities, body size, disabilities, ethnicity, nationality, geographic location, socioeconomic status, educational background, sexual orientation, religion, lifestyle, social interaction, language, family configuration, environment. Considering, understanding and defining these factors can maybe reveal sub-group differences among men/women and helps explaining or predicting outcomes and user needs.

What do you think about the article of Lutz Jäncke or the consideration of intersectional
variables in brain research?

Do you have experience
of integration of diversity aspects in your research?