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Men from Mars, Women from Venus?

For decades, scientists would have us believe that women’s and men’s brains are hardwired differently. But reviewing the scientific literature, Prof. Daphna Joel, a neuroscientist at Tel Aviv University, wasn’t convinced. What she found in those studies sent her on a wild inquiry into the human brain, resulting in her groundbreaking discovery that contrary to the prevailing neuromyth, the human brain is neither “male” nor “female”.

Joel discovered in her own research, after meticulously analyzing the structure of hundreds of human brains, that the brain is a mosaic of both male-typical and female-typical features. Similarly, her findings revealed that each individual possesses a unique mix of both feminine and masculine psychological traits – what Joel aptly termed the “Gender Mosaic”. The brain and gender mosaic defies the mainstream binary understanding of gender, and invites us to celebrate instead the variability and diversity of the human mind.

Wishing to help people self-educate on issues like gender diversity and inclusion, Joel constructed the Gender Mosaic Questionnaire, an interactive resource for understanding your own, and other people’s gender. A crash course on the influence culture has in shaping our conceptions of femininity and masculinity, the Gender Mosaic Questionnaire is a roadmap to living your most authentic life, outside the constraints of gender stereotypes.

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About Prof. Joel

Daphna Joel is a professor of psychology and neuroscience at Tel Aviv University. Her expertise as a neuroscientist, along with her interest in gender studies, inspired her to question the existence of a “male” and a “female” brain. In her research, Joel uses various analytical methods to analyze diverse datasets – from large sets of brain scans to information obtained from self-report questionnaires. Joel’s concepts of the brain and gender mosaic were covered by news media around the globe, including Scientific American, The Guardian, and The New York Times, and continue to transform thinking and research on sex, brain, and gender.

Visit Prof. Joel’s TAU website.

In 2019, Joel put the results of her groundbreaking research, along with the latest scientific evidence, into her popular science book, Gender Mosaic: Beyond the Myth of the Male and Female Brain. Adapting hard science into clear, compelling language and entertaining anecdotes, Joel’s book has found its way to bookstores all over the world. Translated into nine languages, Gender Mosaic: Beyond the Myth of the Male and Female Brain, is now available in hardcover, as an audio book, and on Kindle. 

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Coined by Prof. Daphna Joel, Gender Mosaic is a term that reflects Joel’s groundbreaking discovery that the human brain isn’t “male” or “female” but a mosaic of both female-typical and male-typical features, and that similarly, humans possess unique mosaics of  feminine and masculine traits. You can read more about the Brain Mosaic and the Gender Mosaic here.

Put simply: no. The Gender Mosaic framework’s starting point is that women and men differ, on average, on a variety of traits and preferences. What Prof. Joel discovered is that individuals most often possess a unique combination (mosaic) of feminine and masculine traits and preferences. You can learn more about the history and science behind the Gender Mosaic here.

The Gender Mosaic Questionnaire was created to bring Prof. Joel’s findings on brain and gender to the wider public and help people discover their own unique Gender Mosaic. Spanning a variety of questions like career and activity preferences, how we choose and interact with partners, our predisposition towards violence, sexual desires, and gender identity, the Gender Mosaic Questionnaire is a roadmap for understanding your own, and other people’s gender. 

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Ever wondered if the tiny little things you like doing each day, or the ‘big picture’ decisions you make, can be labeled feminine, masculine – or neither? The Gender Mosaic Questionnaire gives you an unprecedented look into how feminine, masculine, or neutral your traits and preferences are compared to those of others around the world. After completing the questionnaire, you’ll see your own Gender Mosaic forming into an interactive poster that you can custom, explore privately, or share and enjoy with others.

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We determine for each of your answers how feminine, masculine, or gender-neutral it is in comparison to large samples from different countries around the world (such as, the U.S, U.K, Israel, Japan, South Korea). Read more on the science behind the questionnaire here.

The Gender Mosaic framework opens a new way of thinking about gender norms, roles, and biases. Using the Gender Mosaic Questionnaire, you can invite friends, co-workers, students, or your own community to learn more about gender through playful experience. Already using the Gender Mosaic framework or website? We’d love to hear about it! Please share your experience with us and we may include your story on our website or in our upcoming email updates. 

Yes! Joining our mailing list is the easiest way to stay up to date – on a once-a-month basis. Learn about our new discoveries, find out when new comparison groups for the Gender Mosaic Questionnaire become available, and receive information on suggested activities and upcoming talks and events. Join our mailing list.

You can access some of Prof. Joel’s scientific and popular talks here. For information on upcoming talks and events, please sign up to the Gender Mosaic mailing list.

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