Neuroimaging (NI) technologies are having increasing impact in the study of complex cognitive and social processes. In this emerging field of social cognitive neuroscience, a central goal should be to increase the understanding of the interaction between the neurobiology of the individual and the environment in which humans develop and function. The study of sex/gender is often a focus for NI research, and may be motivated by a desire to better understand general developmental principles, mental health problems that show female-male disparities, and gendered differences in society. In order to ensure the maximum possible contribution of NI research to these goals, we draw attention to four key principles—overlap, mosaicism, contingency and entanglement—that have emerged from sex/gender research and that should inform NI research design, analysis and interpretation. We discuss the implications of these principles in the form of constructive guidelines and suggestions for researchers, editors, reviewers and science communicators.
Bibliographical noteCopyright © 2014 Rippon, Jordan-Young, Kaiser and Fine. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) or licensor are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.
Funding: Australian Research Council Future Fellowship FT110100658; Tow Family Foundation; and Swiss National Science Foundation (Marie Heim-Vögtlin Programme) PMPDP1_145452.