Principles of Gender-Specific Medicine, Third Edition, Chapter 14 - Emotion and Gender-Specific Neural Processing in Men and Women

Elsevier, Principles of Gender-Specific Medicine (Third Edition), Academic Press, 2017, Pages 183-201.
Sarah Whittle, Julian G. Simmons, and Nicholas B. Allen

Gender differences in emotion experience and expression represent some of the most robust gender stereotypes worldwide. However, empirical support for these stereotypes is lacking, especially from research utilizing objective measures, such as neuroimaging methodologies. In this chapter, we review functional neuroimaging studies that have empirically tested for gender differences in the association between brain function and emotion processes (including perception, reactivity, regulation, and experience). We present evidence that there are gender differences in the neural mechanisms underlying emotion processes, and a likely interpretation is that males and females use different strategies during emotion processing, which may lead to gender differences in observed (or subjectively reported) processing of emotion (the emotion process). We discuss how these findings may offer insight into the mechanisms underlying gender differences in emotional behaviors, and outline a number of methodological factors that should be taken into consideration when interpreting this field of research.