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Saturday, June 8 • 10:15am - 11:30am
‘Girl’ Brains and ‘Boy’ Brains: Pink and Blue or Fifty Shades of Grey Matter? LIMITED
Limited Capacity seats available

25 years of human brain imaging have reignited centuries’ old speculations about sex differences in the brain. Are there sex differences in the brain? If so, where do they come from and what do they mean for the brains’ owners? Public communication of such findings can be a mixture of ‘neuronews’ and ‘neurononsense’ and we need to be alert to the difference.

Recent advances in brain imaging technology are now allowing us to investigate the human brain’s early years and ask the same questions. Do we have the same problem with neuronews and neurononsense? This talk will review key findings to date and discuss what they mean for our children.

Professor Gina Rippon is Emeritus Professor of Cognitive Neuroimaging at the Aston Brain Centre, Aston University, Birmingham. Her research involves state-of-the-art brain imaging techniques to investigate how the brain interacts with what is going on around it, and what happens when this process goes wrong. She has researched atypical conditions such as schizophrenia, as well as developmental disorders such as dyslexia and autism. Her current research focus is on Autism Spectrum Disorders, trying to measure ‘misfiring’ feedback loops in ASD brains . She is also involved in research investigating girls on the autistic spectrum and whether they present a different biological and behavioural profile to the classic profile associated with boys on the spectrum.

Gina is heavily involved in the critical neuroscience community, commenting on the use of neuroscience techniques to explore social processes such as gender stereotyping and stereotype threat. She is against the idea that there are two sorts of ‘hardwired’ brains’, male and female, and notes that brains are much more complicated than that!

She is an outspoken critic of ’neurotrash’, the populist (mis)use of neuroscience research to (mis)represent our understanding of the brain and, most particularly, to prop up outdated stereotypes. She is a past-President of the British Association of Cognitive Neuroscience and, in 2015, was awarded an Honorary Fellowship of the British Science Association.