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Gillian Brown
University of St. Andrews

Gillian Brown is professor at the School of Psychology & Neuroscience of the University of St Andrews. Her main research interest is sex/gender differences in behaviour in human beings and other animals from evolutionary and neuroendocrine perspectives. This research field is characterised by polarised debates between those who favour ‘biological’ explanations for sex/gender differences and those who stress the importance of social and cultural factors. She has consistently taken an inter-disciplinary approach, arguing that we need to understand how both physiological processes (e.g., early gonadal hormone exposure) and social environments (e.g., gender stereotypes) shape behavioural development across individual and evolutionary time spans. Her research has three strands: i) human experimental research investigating how sex/gender differences in performance on behavioural and cognitive tasks are influenced by stereotypes and social learning), ii) lab-based research investigating the effects of manipulating early gonadal hormone levels on behavioural development in infant, juvenile and adolescent rodents and non-human primates, and iii) theoretical research showing that we can apply evolutionary theory to understanding human behaviour in a way that avoids deterministic accounts and acknowledges the role of culture in the evolutionary process.