Research Topic

Bridging Gaps Between Sex and Gender in Neurosciences

About this Research Topic

In the last decade, neuroscience has seen increased interest in elucidating sex and gender differences of the brain starting with development and extending into old age. (note here “sex” refers to a set of biological attributes belonging to organisms that include chromosomes, pattern of gene expression, differentiating hormonal levels, and reproductive/sexual anatomy; whereas “gender” refers to a social structure and socially constructed roles, behaviors, and identities of girls, women, boys, men, and gender-diverse people.) This trend will continue and increase as funding agencies and scientific journals across the globe continue to encourage researchers to consider sex as a biological variable in their research programs.

With the increased focus on sex differences, a healthy debate has emerged questioning the existence of sexual dimorphisms (e.g. two forms of brain structure or brain response or manifestation of neural conditions), the binary approach to the study of sex differences, and whether the observed brain and behavior differences are due to the genetics of sexual differentiation (organizational) and subsequent hormonal actions (activational) or to the social world in which individuals live (gender). In this context, it is timely and important for neuroscience to move forward from being not only “sex-informed” but also “gender-informed”.

This Research Topic aims to bring these perspectives together in one volume to provide the reader with a more complete perspective on the neuroscientific inquiry of the impacts of sex-related variables and gender-related variables.

We therefore welcome contributions addressing:

- The role of gender (e.g. life experiences, socialization and attitudes) on brain structure, function, physiology and behavior across the lifespan.
- The roles and interactions of sex- and gender-based factors on brain structure, function, physiology and behaviour across the lifespan.
- Methodological, conceptual, and theoretical reflection for operationalizing, measuring and investigating sex as well as gender in neuroscientific research.
- Conversations between sex- vs. gender-based perspectives on neuroscience on the validity of their approaches.

Examples of areas that might be discussed in the context of sex and gender:

• brain structure and function
• estrogens, androgens, progesterone, and other steroid hormones
• epigenetics developmental disorders
• mental well-being and mental health
• gender diversity
• pain
• emotion/mood
• cognition
• stress and coping
• sleep
• addiction

Original research articles, perspectives/opinions as well as reviews are all welcome.


Keywords: gender, gender roles, socialization, gender identity, gender expression, sex, estrogens, androgens, progesterone, brain structure, brain function, developmental disorders, pain, emotion, stress, cognition


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

In the last decade, neuroscience has seen increased interest in elucidating sex and gender differences of the brain starting with development and extending into old age. (note here “sex” refers to a set of biological attributes belonging to organisms that include chromosomes, pattern of gene expression, differentiating hormonal levels, and reproductive/sexual anatomy; whereas “gender” refers to a social structure and socially constructed roles, behaviors, and identities of girls, women, boys, men, and gender-diverse people.) This trend will continue and increase as funding agencies and scientific journals across the globe continue to encourage researchers to consider sex as a biological variable in their research programs.

With the increased focus on sex differences, a healthy debate has emerged questioning the existence of sexual dimorphisms (e.g. two forms of brain structure or brain response or manifestation of neural conditions), the binary approach to the study of sex differences, and whether the observed brain and behavior differences are due to the genetics of sexual differentiation (organizational) and subsequent hormonal actions (activational) or to the social world in which individuals live (gender). In this context, it is timely and important for neuroscience to move forward from being not only “sex-informed” but also “gender-informed”.

This Research Topic aims to bring these perspectives together in one volume to provide the reader with a more complete perspective on the neuroscientific inquiry of the impacts of sex-related variables and gender-related variables.

We therefore welcome contributions addressing:

- The role of gender (e.g. life experiences, socialization and attitudes) on brain structure, function, physiology and behavior across the lifespan.
- The roles and interactions of sex- and gender-based factors on brain structure, function, physiology and behaviour across the lifespan.
- Methodological, conceptual, and theoretical reflection for operationalizing, measuring and investigating sex as well as gender in neuroscientific research.
- Conversations between sex- vs. gender-based perspectives on neuroscience on the validity of their approaches.

Examples of areas that might be discussed in the context of sex and gender:

• brain structure and function
• estrogens, androgens, progesterone, and other steroid hormones
• epigenetics developmental disorders
• mental well-being and mental health
• gender diversity
• pain
• emotion/mood
• cognition
• stress and coping
• sleep
• addiction

Original research articles, perspectives/opinions as well as reviews are all welcome.


Keywords: gender, gender roles, socialization, gender identity, gender expression, sex, estrogens, androgens, progesterone, brain structure, brain function, developmental disorders, pain, emotion, stress, cognition


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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Submission Deadlines

30 March 2018 Abstract
31 October 2018 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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Topic Editors

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Submission Deadlines

30 March 2018 Abstract
31 October 2018 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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