WARNING: The Embarrassing Bodies website contains images of an explicit medical nature and nudity in a medical context.

Episode 3 - Caerphilly

Brain Gender

Jokes about men vs women are probably as old as language itself, but is there any science behind the notion that men and women have fundamentally different brains? It is thought that everybody’s brain has a gender. It’s nothing to do with sexual orientation or your actual gender, but you’ve almost certainly got either a systemising (male) brain, or an empathising (female) brain. They’re wired to think, feel and react differently, but it’s perfectly common for men to have empathising (female) brains and women to have systemising (male) brains.

The type of brain you have will influence your feelings, behaviour, talents and weaknesses. We enlisted a set of volunteers, some of whom do jobs stereotypically associated with their gender and some who do the opposite.

Dr Anne Moir believes our life paths might not be down to choices and social conditioning, but in fact may be beyond all control. They could be a result of the gender of our brains. In a surprising twist, simply measuring your ring finger can reveal much about the inner workings of your mind. It is thought that the longer your ring finger in relation to your index finger, the more testosterone you were exposed to in the womb. Dr Christian’s brain is somewhere in the middle, with his index and ring fingers being more or less equal in length.

Good hand-eye coordination is considered to be a systemising (male) trait, as is being able to visualise shapes in 3D. Conversely those with empathising (female) brains are much better at deciphering expressions in other people. They’re better at judging emotions, joining groups and short term memory.

You can test the gender of your brain by downloading the form here

The Embarrassing Bodies team would like to thank:

Dr Anne Moir, Neuropsychologist Brain Sex Matters

If you would like to try out two of the tasks from the University of Pennsylvania which illustrate subtle cognitive differences between males and females please click here >

  1. Brain Gender Brain Gender
  2. Caerphilly Pod Caerphilly Pod
  3. Testicular Lumps Testicular Lumps
  4. Excess Skin Removal Excess Skin Removal
  5. Verrucas Verrucas
  6. Scar Scar
  7. Progeria Progeria

Comments and Questions

Comments & Questions are now archived, but if you see anything on the site that worries you, please report it and one of our moderators will look at it as soon as possible.
Please note: Unfortunately Channel 4 cannot respond to individual inquiries. If you have any concerns, you can check out NHS Choices, but ultimately it is always best to check with a health professional.

It's interesting, I'm left-handed. My left hand is male according to test and right hand is female. My point result is 13, so that one is close to female side on the line. What can I think about these results? Handedness and the brain maybe?





This will be published. Surnames, nicknames or usernames are not allowed


Your email address will be kept confidential and will NOT be published – it is only being collected here in case Channel 4 need to contact you in relation to your comment.


Please don’t swear or be rude in your comments, as they will not be added to the site. Please do not use your full name when posting comments. If in doubt, refer to the community guidelines

By posting on this website you are agreeing to abide by our community guidelines

I got 16, im a female and both ring fingers are longer by about 7 mm I am a very sensitive person and empathetic and very girly. I have done more of these tests and all the time i get i am a female typed brain yet my hands are so called ''masculine''? thats why i dont believe the hand thing I fit the whole stereotype of the female, yet my brain is supposedly male? nah. not buying it.





This will be published. Surnames, nicknames or usernames are not allowed


Your email address will be kept confidential and will NOT be published – it is only being collected here in case Channel 4 need to contact you in relation to your comment.


Please don’t swear or be rude in your comments, as they will not be added to the site. Please do not use your full name when posting comments. If in doubt, refer to the community guidelines

By posting on this website you are agreeing to abide by our community guidelines

Also both my index fingers are crooked, so they actually look shorter than they are but all my other fingers are straight. lots of my family members have crooked fingers. so guess they are about the same length if they werent crooked

I have always felt detached at home. My mum and sister (very female) nattering away on the sofa. I am a girly girl and like flowers etc.but socially I always liked being alone with a book or something to organise and so I shouldn't be I surprised to come out as very male! I suppose this explains my dislike to family gatherings though... plus my ring finger is really long.





This will be published. Surnames, nicknames or usernames are not allowed


Your email address will be kept confidential and will NOT be published – it is only being collected here in case Channel 4 need to contact you in relation to your comment.


Please don’t swear or be rude in your comments, as they will not be added to the site. Please do not use your full name when posting comments. If in doubt, refer to the community guidelines

By posting on this website you are agreeing to abide by our community guidelines

I scored 19 very female both my ring fingers are longer but I do identify as having gender dysphoria





This will be published. Surnames, nicknames or usernames are not allowed


Your email address will be kept confidential and will NOT be published – it is only being collected here in case Channel 4 need to contact you in relation to your comment.


Please don’t swear or be rude in your comments, as they will not be added to the site. Please do not use your full name when posting comments. If in doubt, refer to the community guidelines

By posting on this website you are agreeing to abide by our community guidelines

I got 18/20, and I'm a male. That feels pretty weird...





This will be published. Surnames, nicknames or usernames are not allowed


Your email address will be kept confidential and will NOT be published – it is only being collected here in case Channel 4 need to contact you in relation to your comment.


Please don’t swear or be rude in your comments, as they will not be added to the site. Please do not use your full name when posting comments. If in doubt, refer to the community guidelines

By posting on this website you are agreeing to abide by our community guidelines

I was totally nonplussed to discover what I already know, but keep testing just in case...totally slap bang on the middle! Hoorah,etc, and other exclamations of joy. I am an ex model and now artist and have a feminine face some say ugly (weirdly in rough areas of London!) some say beautiful. I love vintage cars and cats,am expressive,have more male taste in music like Queen, White Lies and Dick Dale,an odd sense of humour and like going whizzy fast in cars! My index finger is shorter on my left than right but not shorter on either than my ring finger.I love vintage style clothes and old time glamour but cry laughing at Jerry Lewis films.I paint guitars playing a man and three eyed alien cats with flying saucers of milk.I get a lot of attention both bad and good and feel largely a Jasmine not male or female.I am attracted rarely to humans but its been both sexes. My body is boyish but slightly curved. The test is spot on.Although I know spots are not involved!





This will be published. Surnames, nicknames or usernames are not allowed


Your email address will be kept confidential and will NOT be published – it is only being collected here in case Channel 4 need to contact you in relation to your comment.


Please don’t swear or be rude in your comments, as they will not be added to the site. Please do not use your full name when posting comments. If in doubt, refer to the community guidelines

By posting on this website you are agreeing to abide by our community guidelines

Well, this explained a lot of things - my brain is a mix, or in my mind, an 'it.' I've never felt very strongly about my gender (female) and I've always been baffled at how other females can like their breasts when most of the time I am completely unaware of mine and when I am aware they are usually frankly a nuisance to me. (And I would rather nobody pay any attention to them whatsoever, really. Though I am indifferent to them now, when I got them at puberty I was very affronted and disgruntled by their unwanted formation.) I am quite pretty from my observations and I look strongly female yet I have never fostered any true instinct in dating. I've always been a little bit tomboyish but a lot of male behaviour baffles me just as much as typical female behaviour! Both of my index fingers were longer than my ring fingers.





This will be published. Surnames, nicknames or usernames are not allowed


Your email address will be kept confidential and will NOT be published – it is only being collected here in case Channel 4 need to contact you in relation to your comment.


Please don’t swear or be rude in your comments, as they will not be added to the site. Please do not use your full name when posting comments. If in doubt, refer to the community guidelines

By posting on this website you are agreeing to abide by our community guidelines

8/20, 2nd and 4th fingers very similar in length. I'm a 27yo female with normal biology and I very strongly identify as a woman. I'm in the female-dominated field of biology, I'm risk-averse, I'm very good at picking up on other people's emotions but not at knowing what to say in response. PLOT TWIST: I didn't grow up with strong gender stereotypes. I was very disappointed that the empathising and systemising aspects of the brain were referred to as "female" and "male", respectively... when the former adjectives were just fine. We should be trying to dismantle -- not reinforce -- the notions that an empathetic man, or one who doesn't find assembling flat-pack furniture a breeze, is less masculine than his peers who repress all emotions but anger; and that a woman who is analytical (or has strong hand-eye coordination, good heavens) but has trouble reading faces for emotion is less feminine.





This will be published. Surnames, nicknames or usernames are not allowed


Your email address will be kept confidential and will NOT be published – it is only being collected here in case Channel 4 need to contact you in relation to your comment.


Please don’t swear or be rude in your comments, as they will not be added to the site. Please do not use your full name when posting comments. If in doubt, refer to the community guidelines

By posting on this website you are agreeing to abide by our community guidelines

Im female my ring finger is longer and I got 9 out of 20 im a lab tech but I trained as a mechanic and gardener and have always been a tomboy not a girly girl





This will be published. Surnames, nicknames or usernames are not allowed


Your email address will be kept confidential and will NOT be published – it is only being collected here in case Channel 4 need to contact you in relation to your comment.


Please don’t swear or be rude in your comments, as they will not be added to the site. Please do not use your full name when posting comments. If in doubt, refer to the community guidelines

By posting on this website you are agreeing to abide by our community guidelines

My index finger is bigger then my ring on my right hand and the same on my left, and I scored 4 out of 20. I dont think this applys to everyone becuase I like woman and im not homosexual.





This will be published. Surnames, nicknames or usernames are not allowed


Your email address will be kept confidential and will NOT be published – it is only being collected here in case Channel 4 need to contact you in relation to your comment.


Please don’t swear or be rude in your comments, as they will not be added to the site. Please do not use your full name when posting comments. If in doubt, refer to the community guidelines

By posting on this website you are agreeing to abide by our community guidelines


More Information

  1. Consultation: Verrucas

    In Videos - Dr McKenna examines two patients with severe outbreaks of verrucas

  2. Excess Skin

    In Conditions - As weight is put on the skin stretches and grows to accommodate the…

  3. Hyperhidrosis

    In Conditions - Excessive sweating in the face, hands, feet and armpits, or over th…

  4. In Detail: Sagging Breasts

    In Videos - An in detail look at the operation to correct a pair of sagging bre…

  5. Progeria

    In Conditions - Progeria's symptoms very closely mimic the ageing process, but rapi…

  6. Stretch Marks

    In Conditions - Lines on the skin that start off as raised red lines, before turnin…

  7. Testicular Pain

    In Conditions - Your testicles/balls/plums/nuts/nads/goolies or whatever other nick…

  8. Thrush

    In Conditions - A yeast infection caused by a fungus called Candida albicans which…

  9. Vaginismus

    In Conditions - When the muscles around the vagina tighten (contract) against your…

  10. Warts

    In Conditions - Warts are normally small, skin coloured rough lumps that appear on…

  11. Episode 4

    In Episodes - Episode 4's patients included one suffering from the penis bending…

  12. Episode 11 - Under the Skin

    In Episodes - The doctors revisit famous cases of skin problems, finding out how…

  13. Episode 14 - Changing Sex

    In Episodes - Dr Christian revisits two women who have gone to extreme measures t…

  14. Skin Tags

    In Conditions - Skin tags are soft lumps, attached to the skin by a stalk that tend…

  15. Doctor Responses: Testicular Cancer

    In Videos - Dr Christian explores the myths and common questions surrounding te…


Am I Normal?

Share, explore, vote, watch… Am I Normal? is a bold new Channel 4 project that will redefine what you think of as ‘normal’.

Visit Am I Normal? >