Dr. Daphna Joel caused ripples in the neuroscience community when her research challenged the idea that there are male and female brains.

Joel, a professor in the School of Psychological Sciences and Sagol School of Neuroscience at Tel-Aviv University in Israel, will discuss her research during her talk, “Beyond the Binary: Rethinking Sex, Brain, and Gender,” on September 13 at 6 p.m. in Bush Memorial Hall on the Russell Sage College Troy campus. The talk is free and open to the public, but attendees are asked to pre-register online. The event also will be livestreamed on the Russell Sage College YouTube channel.

Joel’s work resonates at a time when the idea of gender is undergoing a revolution and unconventional gender behaviors gain acceptance. Meanwhile, the move toward a more gender-neutral and accepting society has triggered a backlash.

Joel’s 2019 book, Gender Mosaic: Beyond the Myth of the Male and Female Brain,  co-authored with Luba Vikhanski, challenged the long-held belief “that women and men differ in profound and important ways … because this or that region in the brains of women is smaller or larger than in men, or because they have more or less of this or that hormone.” Drawing on the latest scientific evidence, including the groundbreaking results of her own studies, Joel explained every human brain is a unique mixture – or mosaic – of “male” and “female” features, and that these mosaics don’t map neatly into two categories.

In her research, Joel uses a wide range of methods to analyze diverse datasets, from large collections of brain scans to information obtained with self-report questionnaires. Joel has combined her expertise as a neuroscientist with her interest in gender studies to revolutionize the fields of sex, brain, and gender. While most of Joel’s work has focused on the brain, the lecture does not build on prior knowledge in neuroscience, and Joel’s approach and conclusions are applicable to many other fields of study.

The event is hosted by the Women’s Institute at Russell Sage College with the Russell Sage College Departments of Biology and Psychology serving as co-sponsors.

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