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Psychology Connected: Gender differences

Thursday 7 March 2024
Psychology Connected
Pieter de la Court
Wassenaarseweg 52
2333 AK Leiden
Central hall

On Thursday afternoon 7 March, the seventh edition of Psychology Connected will take place. An event to which the entire Psychology Institute is invited to engage in a conversation over drinks about a better university and society. What do those look like and how do we get there?

Gender differences

Few topics spark as much debate and contention as the study of gender differences in psychology. Long held beliefs, such as the notion that men are from Mars and women are from Venus, as popularized by John Gray's bestselling book in 1992, are now being reconsidered by scientists. Instead, there's a growing recognition that these differences are far more nuanced than previously thought, often shaped significantly by social influences. What can the latest findings in psychological research tell us about this complex subject? Why do certain developmental disorders seem to affect boys more than girls? And how can insights from psychology help us better understand and address these disparities?


Lara Wierenga studies the influence of genetic and environmental factors on the development of the brain structure in children and adolescents. With her work she tries to understand why development disorders such as ADHD or autism spectrum disorders are more prevalent in boys than in girls. She is also the author of Atlas of our Brain, a popular science book in which she uses infographics to make neuroscience accessible to a wide audience.

Ellen de Bruijn is a professor of Neurocognitive Clinical Psychology, where she studies the cognitive and neural mechanisms of action-control processes that are necessary to interact successfully with the environment and other humans. In 2023, she received an ERC Consolidator Grant to conduct EEG research on the different stages at which girls and women experience strong hormonal fluctuations. The study aims to contribute to the understanding of factors contributing to health and well-being in women of all ages, and to provide better information about the menstrual cycle and menopause to girls and women.

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