MIT Scientists Pinpoint Area of the Brain Responsible for Quick Gender Identification

mit-logoHumans and other primates who had the ability to quickly identify whether another member of their species was male or female had an evolutionary advantage in finding mates and also identifying possible threats. Now scientists have identified the area of the brain that is responsible for quick gender identification.

Neuroscientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have pinpointed neurons in the brain that distinguish faces and identify whether the face is male or female. The researchers used monkeys that had shown a high level of ability to distinguish male and female faces. A light-sensitive protein was used to suppress a certain group of neurons thought to be the source of gender identification in the brains of these monkeys. The results showed a significant reduction in their ability to identify gender when these neurons were suppressed.

The results of the study may lead to practical applications in medicine. If certain neurons of the brain can be suppressed than there is a possibility that other areas that impact epilepsy or other neurological disorders may also be suppressed by the same methods.

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