Structural differences in the cerebral cortex of healthy female and male subjects: a magnetic resonance imaging study

Psychiatry Res. 1995 Sep 29;61(3):129-35. doi: 10.1016/0925-4927(95)02634-a.


There are both reproductive and nonreproductive behavioral differences between men and women. Brain regions involved in determining sexual behavior have been reported to differ between the sexes. Nonreproductive, cognitive functional differences between sexes might be reflected in higher-order cortical structural dimorphisms, which have not previously been studied. We hypothesized that cortical regions involved in verbal behavior (which is sexually dimorphic) would differ between sexes. Using magnetic resonance imaging, we assessed gray matter volumes in several cortical regions in 17 women and 43 men. Women had 23.2% (dorsolateral prefrontal cortex) and 12.8% (superior temporal gyrus) greater gray matter percentages (corrected for overall brain size and age) than men in a language-related cortical region, but not in a more visuospatially related cortical region. These data seem to establish sexually dimorphic structural differences in the cerebral cortex, consistent with prior cerebral blood flow reports.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cerebral Cortex / anatomy & histology*
  • Dominance, Cerebral / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging*
  • Male
  • Psychomotor Performance / physiology
  • Reference Values
  • Sex Characteristics*
  • Verbal Behavior / physiology