Drs. Romina Mizrahi and Pedro Rosa-Neto contribute to a study showing an association between gender inequality and gender-based variations in neural mechanisms

May 18, 2023

A study published in PNAS showed that brain regions associated with emotions and responses to adversity showed gender-based variations in thickness associated with the level of gender inequality. Drs. Romina Mizrahi and Pedro Rosa-Neto contributed to this large study, which used nearly 8,000 MRI scans to reach its findings.

Gender inequality is associated with worse mental health and academic achievement in women. Using a dataset of 7,876 MRI scans from healthy adults living in 29 different countries, Zugman et al. show that gender inequality is associated with differences between the brains of men and women: cortical thickness of the right hemisphere, especially in limbic regions such as the right caudal anterior cingulate and right medial orbitofrontal, as well as the left lateral occipital, present thinner cortices in women compared to men only in gender unequal countries. These results suggest a potential neural mechanism underlying the worse outcome of women in gender-unequal settings, as well as highlight the role of the environment in the brain differences between women and men. 

Read the full article here in PNAS : Country-level gender inequality is associated with structural differences in the brains of women and men

by Zugman A, Alliende LM, Medel V, et al. PNAS Psychological and Cognitive Sciences