Gender Studies in MINT


Anelis Kaiser: Sex/Gender in Computational Neuroscience.
(Cooperation Partners: Prof. Dr. Evelyn Ferstl, Department of Cogntive Science and Gender; Prof. Dr. Michael Tangermann, Brain State Decoding Lab; Prof. Dr. Jürgen Hennig, Medical Physics, all: University of Freiburg. Funder: Innovationsfonds, University of Freiburg)

The widespread notion that women and men differ in cognitive abilities and brain functions has important implications for the general public. Thus, neuroscientific evidence about sex/gender is of societal relevance. Moreover, many research funding institutions now require including sex/gender in research proposals. At the same time, gender studies researchers have criticised difference research and have pinpointed fundamental, methodological problems. In this interdisciplinary project, we explore whether and how novel developments in data-analysis techniques and computational neuroscience can overcome three identified shortcomings: the routine implementation or sex/gender as covariable, its role as by-product of outcomes, and its entwinement with interindividual variability. Potential solutions are based on quantitive meta-analyses techniques, data-driven computational analyses of individual differences or machine learning algorithms. The aim of the project is to identify appropriate methods, pre-test them on available data and foster international cooperation on the topic. The interdisciplinary scope of this project is unique, as such it provides a novel contribution to the nascent research field of sex/gender research in neuroscience.