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The Neuroscience of Sex

Daphna Joel

Are male and female brains really so different? Senior Professor of Psychobiology at Tel Aviv University Daphna Joel examines the latest research into the neurological differences between men and women.

About the Course

For centuries, we have assumed that the biological differences between men and women extend further than just genitalia, and into the neurological make-up of our brains. But what if this is just an unscientific falsehood, enforced by societal stereotypes and traditional beliefs?

In this course, psychobiology professor at Tel Aviv University Daphna Joel introduces us to cutting edge research that will redefine the way you view the gender of brains. Professor Joel divides the course into two sections – first tackling the science of analysing gendered brains, then investigating the social structures that cause our attachment to the idea of ingrained and neurological genders. Ultimately Joel attempts to determine whether there really is anything in the idea of fixed gender after all.

By the end of the course, you will have learned:

  • The biological distinction between male and female genitalia, and the difficulties faced when attempting the same for the brain.
  • Which features of the brain are and are not affected by environmental stimuli.
  • The probability of a random male and female having the same brain structure.
  • Quantitative proof that humans do not belong to a female type and a male type.
  • The psychological reasons behind our discomfort with gender fluidity.
  • How category divisions affect our perception of the world.
  • How our behaviour is affected by context, status and expectations.
  • Daphna's vision for the future of the social structure of gender.


As part of the course there are in-video quiz questions to consolidate your learning, and discussion boards to have your say.

IAI Academy courses are designed to be challenging but accessible to the interested student. No specialist knowledge is required.

About the Instructor

  • Daphna Joel

    Daphna Joel is a neuroscientist and senior member of the faculty of the School of Psychological Sciences and the School of Neuroscience at Tel Aviv University. Her work focuses on questions related to brain, sex and gender.

Course Syllabus

  • Part One: The Evidence
    Joel outlines the evidence for the new mosaic variation account of the neurology of the sexes.
  • Part Two: Our Perceptions
    Why do we perceive two gendered categories if this doesn't reflect what we observe in human brains?