Gender-Specific Sensitivity to Time-Discrepant Task Conditions of Reasoning During fMRI




Roberts, Joshua M.

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This study examined behavioral discrepancies and their neural correlates between males and females on a color relational complexity (CRC) matrix reasoning task administered in two separate functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) studies. Using 42 age-matched, CRC-trained participants, behavioral results revealed significant performance differences by gender, indicating that males performed more accurately, but less rapidly on CRC trials than females. These gender differences were also expressed in the neural activation maps indicating conserved right lateralized activity for males and a robust frontal and limbic associated activity for females, attributed to cognitive load associated with stereotype threat. Consideration of timing parameters with a "timed" versus a "self-paced" design elucidated further differentiation of the neural activation supporting color relational complexity, with the self-paced condition supported by posterior visuo-spatial regions and the timed condition supported by a sparse cingulate activation.



Relational Complexity, Gender, FMRI, Reasoning