J Neurosci. 2023 Sep 13;43(37):6344-6356. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.0020-23.2023.
Long overlooked in neuroscience research, sex and gender are increasingly included as key variables potentially impacting all levels of neurobehavioral analysis. Still, many neuroscientists do not understand the difference between the terms “sex” and “gender,” the complexity and nuance of each, or how to best include them as variables in research designs. This TechSights article outlines rationales for considering the influence of sex and gender across taxa, and provides technical guidance for strengthening the rigor and reproducibility of such analyses. This guidance includes the use of appropriate statistical methods for comparing groups as well as controls for key covariates of sex (e.g., total intracranial volume) and gender (e.g., income, caregiver stress, bias). We also recommend approaches for interpreting and communicating sex- and gender-related findings about the brain, which have often been misconstrued by neuroscientists and the lay public alike.