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Graduation Attire PhD/Doctoral Tudor Bonnet
About this item.
- Phd or Doctoral Tudor Bonnet
- High Quality Velvet
- Includes Gold Cord
- Durable and comfortable design
- Head Circumference Measured in Centimetres
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- Product Dimensions : 30 x 4 x 30 cm; 600 Grams
- Date First Available : 24 Feb. 2013
- Manufacturer : Graduation Attire
- ASIN : B07145GVJR
- Department : Unisex
- 6 in Civil Service Uniforms
Our UK style Tudor Bonnets are the perfect accompaniment to your PhD or Doctoral attire. Made from the highest quality velvet, it has to be said, based on price and quality, our bonnets are unbeaten worldwide. With a durable and comfortable design they are available in Cardinal Red (gold cord), Royal Blue (gold cord) and Black (Gold cord). American style Doctoral Tams are also available upon request.Medium - Head circumference less than 60cmLarge - Head circumference greater than 60cmGraduation Attire are suppliers of graduation gowns, academic clothing, choir, church and legal wear. Our focus is on quality products and exceptional customer service, ensuring that we are your number one choice for all your graduation and professional needs. Please visit our Amazon store for our full range.
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Norwich University of The Arts Doctoral Tudor Bonnet
Our UK style Tudor Bonnets are the perfect accompaniment to your PhD or Doctoral attire . Made from the highest quality velvet, and with a durable and comfortable design, they are available in Cardinal Red (gold cord), Royal Blue (gold cord), Black (Maroon cord) and Black (Gold cord). American style Doctoral Tams are also available.
The correct way to measure your head circumference: The correct way to measure your head size to take the circumference approximately 1 inch above your eyebrows. If you are not sure what size you need (e.g. you land on the boundary), we would recommend going for the larger size, allowing a more comfortable fit.
A Tudor bonnet is a velvet round academic cap with a long honour tassel hanging from a cord which is circled around the cap. It is also known as a round doctoral bonnet or PhD cap.
It is mostly worn as part of academic dress by a person who holds a doctorate degree, mainly by those holding a research or professional doctoral degree. It is also often worn by those holding an honourary or full higher doctorate, and, at certain educational establishments, by University Officers, such as the University Marshal, the president of the students’ union, and members of the university council.
In some educational establishments, or some faculties of some educational establishments, a mortarboard is worn instead.
They can be made of a high quality velvet, usually black is the most worn colour however produced in other colours. As the name suggests, the Tudor bonnet was popularly worn during Tudor times.
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Size Chart Table
- 4'6" - 4'8"
- 4'9" - 4'11"
- 5'0" - 5'2"
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- 5'6" - 5'8"
- 5'9" - 5'11"
- 6'0" - 6'2"
- 6'3" - 6'5"
- 6'6" - 6'8"
- 6'9" - 6'11"
- 137 - 142 cm
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- 152 - 157 cm
- 160 - 165 cm
- 168 - 173 cm
- 175 - 180 cm
- 183 - 188 cm
- 191 - 196 cm
- 198 - 203 cm
- 206 - 211 cm
- Weight Below
Doctoral graduation gown.
Your PhD graduation ceremony will be a proud and prestigious occasion, and a quality Doctorate graduation cap and gown will ensure you look the part for the big event. We understand how significant your Doctorate graduation is, even if you’re celebrating at home , so we overlook no detail.
Ordering Your Doctorate Graduation Cap and Gown
When it comes to PhD regalia, there is a range of different gowns and accessories to choose from.
At Marston Robing, we offer Doctoral gowns, hoods and bonnets in three styles – PhD, QMUL, and London PhD. Our gown sizes are designed to fit individuals from 5’0 to 7’0 ft tall. To find your doctoral graduation gown size please take a look at our gown size chart .
You can also order a Tudor Bonnet from us, a traditional Doctoral graduation hat. The Tudor Bonnet is soft, comfortable and features an adjustable inner headband. You can choose from a velvet or cloth fabric in black, red or royal blue.
If you are ordering a Doctoral hat, we recommend looking over our graduation hat guide before purchase.
As with all of our graduation gowns , customisation is an option. If you can’t find a Doctorate graduation cap or gown in a colour you’d like, please get in touch with our team and we can discuss your options.
Bespoke Orders: For bespoke orders, please get in touch or give us a call on 01264 339706 . Our team are more than happy to discuss your requirements with you and help you to complete your order.
If you have any more queries, please head to our FAQ page or get in touch with our team.
QMUL Gown, Hood and Bonnet with Cord for Doctorate/PhD Level
To enable graduates to celebrate at home due to the current situation, we are offering the sale of o..
£660.00 Ex VAT: £550.00
Adjustable Tudor Bonnet
A Tudor bonnet is a traditional soft round cap, with a tassel hanging from a cord encircling the hat..
£85.00 Ex VAT: £70.83
Adjustable Tudor Bonnet - Ceremony Stock
This item is from our ceremony stock and has been worn once but is in excellent condition.It is adju..
£35.00 Ex VAT: £29.17
Honour Cord with Tassels
Honour cords are traditionally provided to individuals graduating with honours and are worn around t..
£8.50 Ex VAT: £7.08
London PhD Style Gown, Hood and Bonnet-Ex Hire Stock
This is the London PhD style gown and matching hood with tudor bonnet. Gown - burgundy with bur..
£250.00 Ex VAT: £208.33
PhD Style Gown, Hood and Bonnet--Ex Hire Stock
This PhD style gown comes with matching hood and a black tudor bonnet. Gown - re..
£195.00 Ex VAT: £162.50
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Following a German tradition, the workgroup crafts a special hat (mortarboard) for every PhD-student leaving the lab. Sculptures on these hats often represent memorable and unique moments from the student's research and their time in our group. Please feel free to take a look at our creations.
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What is a PhD and Why Should YOU do one?
In the UK, a PhD stands for ‘Doctor of Philosophy’, sometimes referred to as a ‘doctorate’. It is the highest level of degree that a student can achieve. At some institutions, including Oxford University, a Doctor of Philosophy is known as a DPhil. It is distinct from professional doctorates such as an Engineering Doctorate (EngD).
An undergraduate degree is a minimum requirement and many will also require a master’s degree (such as an MA, MSc or MRes). Some scholarships will be on a 1+3 basis, which is one year of a master’s plus three years of PhD funding.
How to apply for a PhD
Prospective students are usually expected to submit a research proposal to the department they wish to undertake their study in. Some departments will encourage students to discuss their ideas with an academic working in that field first. The proposal will outline what they intend their research to investigate, how it relates to other research in their field and what methods they intend to use to carry out their research. Some PhD’s however, particularly in the sciences, are advertised as studentships where the research aims are more prescriptive.
How long is the course?
A PhD usually lasts three years (four for a New Route PhD – see below), or rather, any available funding usually lasts for that time. Students may be able to take extra time in order to complete their thesis but this will usually be at their own expense. For part-time, self-funded students, it can take up to seven years.
A PhD usually culminates in a dissertation of around 80,000-100,000 words , based on research carried out over the course of their study. The research must be original and aim to create new knowledge or theories in their specialist area, or build on existing knowledge or theories. Many departments initially accept students on an MPhil basis and then upgrade them to PhD status after the first year or two, subject to satisfactory progress. Students who are not considered to be doing work appropriate for the level can instead submit a shorter thesis and gain an MPhil.
There is little taught element, students are expected to work independently, supported by their department and a supervisor. There may be seminars to attend and/or lab work to complete, depending on the subject. During their study, students will try and get academic papers published and present their work at conferences, which will allow them to get feedback on their ideas for their dissertation.
New Route PhD
Introduced in 2001, the New Route PhD is a four-year programme that combines taught elements, including professional and transferable skills, with the student’s research. There are now hundreds of doctoral students studying a variety of subjects at a consortium of universities across the UK.
Career prospects for PhD Students
PhD graduates who go on to work in academia usually start off by undertaking postdoctoral research and then a fellowship or lectureship. Other career options will depend on what the PhD was in – commercial research is an option for some, and many are able to use their specialist knowledge and research skills in areas of business and finance.
For a real insight into what it’s like to study at PhD level, see our vlog series , where we have invited students at various stages of their PhD and locations to film themselves over a month and share their videos with you.
Why do a PhD?
If you are considering doing one make sure that you do it with a purpose. Do one because you want to and know why you want to do it and have a clear idea of what it could lead to . How is doing a PhD going to help you achieve what you want to in your future?
Reasons to do a PhD.
- It’ll be good for your career. No one expects you to have your whole career plan mapped out when you start a PhD, but having some ideas of where you want to get to can be useful. Be aware though that you may not get the career benefits of a PhD straight away.
- You want to be an expert in a particular area of your subject. If you complete a PhD you will be. No-one, not your supervisor, not your external examiner at the end of your PhD, no-one, will know more about the subject you researched than you do.
- You want to achieve something. You want to work hard and demonstrate a passion for your subject and show how much time and effort you put in and how motivated you are.
- Showing your ability to motivate yourself is one of many skills you’ll be able to demonstrate to employers after doing a PhD, which is handy for entering a competitive job market .
Reasons not to do a PhD.
- Don’t do it just because your degree research project supervisor asked you if you wanted to do one with them. If you wanted to do one and it’s in an area that interests you then great, go for it. If you hadn’t thought about doing one before they asked, and you’re not sure why you want to do one, make sure you work that out before saying yes to them.
- Don’t do it because you don’t know what else to do. Many people do a PhD because they don’t know what else to do and think it will give them time to work that out. Doing a PhD is a huge commitment, at least 3-4 years of your life, and hard work, so before you take one on, make sure you understand why.
- And do it because YOU want to, not because your family, or others expect it of you, or because your family or friends are doing one, or have done one. Make it your decision, not someone else’s.
Why Should YOU Do A PhD?
It is your decision to commit to a significant period of time and work and it needs to be something you approach positively and with enthusiasm but also with realism about the pros and cons of undertaking original research.
Who does a PhD?
The idea of the “perpetual student”, i.e. someone who stays on after an undergraduate and/or masters degree, to do a PhD, is perhaps a traditional view of PhDs. Some of you reading this will fall into the category of those who work through the tiers of higher education in this sequential fashion (it does not necessarily make you a “perpetual student” though!). The PhD population today is very diverse and not made up entirely of 21 to 25-year-olds who have stayed in educational settings for the majority of their lives. Others may be considering a return to education in order to change your career or as part of your professional development within an existing career. Some of you may be considering coming to study in the UK independently or with support from an organisation in your home country. Whatever your situation it is very important that you take time to recognise and understand why you are making this commitment and what it entails.
Let us move to the positives of why YOU should do a Ph.D. Broadly, the positive reasons can be classified into:
You WANT to or You NEED to
Some academic colleagues were asked to give reasons why someone should do a PhD and all came back with statements that had the word “passion” in them. This is having a real passion for your subject and an area of it that you want to investigate further. My colleagues also offered some interesting comments on the reality of making a decision to do a PhD even when you have this passion. Some commented on the need to consider doing the right PhD for you and not just any PhD, and I think it is important that you take this seriously as it can be dangerous to compromise too far and embark on research that you are not interested in just because it will lead to a PhD.
Academic colleagues also wanted you to look ahead and consider where your PhD may take you. Do you want to continue in an academic career or apply for jobs in industry or other organisations where a PhD is a requirement or will help you to work at a different level? Interestingly, research on the career intentions of students, undertaken by Vitae revealed that less than one-third had firm career ideas even in the latter stages of their Ph.D. This statistic is concerning as it may mean that PhD students miss opportunities to add to their range of experience. You don’t need to have an exact career plan in place at the start of your Ph.D., but doing research on where it may take you is valuable. For those already in a career and undertaking a PhD as part of their professional development, or those who are viewing a PhD as part of a career change into academia, they should also look ahead and ensure that plans for the future are realistic and achievable.
A decision to undertake a PhD involves the same steps as any other career decision, you need to find out as much as possible about what a Ph.D. really involves. Alongside considering where your passions lie and where they might lead to, you need to research such things as:
- The working environment and how you will adapt to any differences with your current situation
- Working with a supervisor
- What funding is available and what it covers, i.e. fees only or fees and living costs?
- Most importantly what behaviours, skills and experiences YOU have that will make you a successful and productive researcher
These points and others are covered in more detail in 7 Ph.D Application Tips .
Find your PhD here
For further PhD tips see:
What Can You Do With a PhD?
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20th August 2020 at 12:31 am
Excellent article. I am know more motivate to get a scholorship for my PHD program. I have to enhance my all effort because it’s not easy to get a fully funded, require more effort and time taken.
10th March 2022 at 9:58 am
Hope are well? I am thinking of gong for PHD. In any UK universities. Hope to hear from you soonest.
10th March 2022 at 1:08 pm
Cool, thanks for your advice. It’s an inspiration to let my “passion” be abroad. Best for you.
9th November 2022 at 8:33 pm
This article is timely and so educative. I’m now better informed on how to make a decision on going for my PhD. Thanks a lot.
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Finland’s PhD Sword and Hat Tradition
- By Dr Harry Hothi
- August 19, 2020
As my PhD graduation day neared in 2012, I was given the opportunity to travel to Toronto and I ended up missing the university ceremony, eventually receiving the doctoral degree certificate in the post a few weeks later. Had I been a PhD student in Finland, I would also have missed the Conferment ceremony and not received my PhD sword and hat. Let me explain…
Finland’s Doctoral Sword and Hat
Once the university is satisfied that the academic requirement for earning a PhD have been met, candidates are formally awarded their doctoral degree certificates which can be collected during graduation ceremonies similar to those in the UK or picked up from the university some-time later.
Whilst on paper you’ll now be a PhD holder, in Finland you’re not considered to be a proper Dr’ until you’ve been through the official ceremony of Conferment which involves receiving a doctoral hat and an actual doctoral sword! In fact, doctoral degree holders that haven’t gone through Conferment are ‘not allowed’ to wear their doctoral hats at any future ceremonies requiring them and must instead carry them in their hands!
The University of Oulu describes the Doctoral Hat as “a symbol of liberty…scholarship and freedom of research” and the Doctors Sword is “a symbol for the scientist’s fight for what he or she, in rigorous research, has found to be good, right and true”.
Conferment ceremonies take place every couple of years and as you can imagine are a big deal for new PhD holders/doctors. At the conferment ceremony, new doctors are presented with their PhD hat, PhD sword and certificate of conferment.
The PhD or Doctoral hat, which looks like a top hat, is normally black in colour, but this colour may also vary depending on the specific degree awarded; A Doctor of Medicine, for example, is associated with a green hat, whilst a Doctor of Fine Arts with a dark blue hat. It also usually displays the university emblem attached to a velvet ribbon.
On the evening before conferment day, a traditional sword-whetting’ ceremony occurs. At this, new PhD holders bring the sword that they’ll officially be presented with the next day and they sharpen this sword on a hand-turned grindstone that’s turned by the other people at the ceremony. This is usually followed by a short speech by the new doctor in which they describe the importance of the sword to them and how it symbolises the defence of knowledge and their responsibilities as a new doctoral degree holder. When they are worn in official ceremonies in the future, they are traditionally placed on the left side.
PhD Defence in Finland: The Dress Code
In addition to Finland’s PhD Sword and Hat customs, Finnish university PhD defences (i.e. the viva) are steeped in tradition when it comes to the academic dress code. Most commonly, male doctoral candidates wear a tailcoat and black waistcoat with black socks and shoes, or a dark suit or military uniform. Female candidates usually wear a long-sleeved, high-necked short black dress or two-piece suit. Candidates are not permitted to wear hats or any prominent jewellery.
The Custos and Opponent (I’ll explain what these mean further on), assuming that they themselves hold doctoral degrees, traditionally carry their doctoral hats in their hands when they walk into and out of the auditorium. During the actual examination, they place their hats on the table in front of them.
At the post-examination karonkka (celebratory dinner), most men usually wear a tailcoat but this time with a white waistcoat instead of black, whilst women tend to wear evening dresses. In more modern times however, there has been a trend towards men starting to wear black/dark suits and women short, formal dresses.
As well as the tradition of clothing, swords and hats, the process of submitting and defending a PhD thesis is itself a rite of passage of students. Read on to learn more….
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The Finnish PhD Defence
First off, in Finland when you have write up your thesis you can do so in two main ways. The first is the conventional way used in the UK and elsewhere of a continuous large document, more than 50,000 words in length. The second (and the most common) is to submit a shorter summary thesis combined with 3 to 4 published papers.
When it’s ready, the thesis is examined internally by a thesis panel made up of faculty within your institution. This process occurs during what is known as a Grand Seminar’, which hopefully concludes with your thesis being approved for review by external examiners. The external examiners will critically assess your research and the contents of your thesis and make suggestions for any edits or revisions if deemed necessary. The primary outcome you’re after here is approval from the external examiners for your thesis to move to the next stage: The Public Defence.
The levels of formality and adherence to past traditions does now vary to some extent across Finnish universities but traditionally, the next step is for the University Faculty to select an Opponent or Opponents and the Custos. The Custos is the name used to describe the person that will be chairing the public defence and the Opponent(s) are the people that will be formally debating with the PhD student about the content of their thesis (i.e. the examiners’).
Once the Opponent(s) and Custos have been appointed, a date for the public defence is set. At the University of Helsinki , for example, public defences usually take place on Wednesdays or Fridays at midday or at 10am on Saturdays; the actual examination however starts at a quarter past the hour, at time referred to as the “academic quarter”.
On the day of the defence, which takes place in a large auditorium and is open to any member of the public to attend, the public examination officially starts after the PhD student enters the auditorium, followed by the Custos and Opponent(s) (the order here is important).
The doctoral candidate will first deliver a “lectio praecursoria” which is a 20-minute presentation that introduces the work of their research and the methodology used. This is followed by short introductory remarks about the research by the Opponent, after which the formal cross-examination begins.
The formal examination can last several hours, with the Opponent systematically working through the content of the thesis and the doctoral candidate defending their work as questions arise. After examination by the Opponent is complete, he or she will (hopefully!) declare to the Faculty that the thesis should be accepted (i.e. that the doctoral degree should be awarded).
After this, the ‘floor’ is opened up to the general public, with anyone from the audience welcome to ask questions, moderated by the Custos. This sessions concludes with the PhD candidate, Opponent and Custos leaving the auditorium in the same order that they came in.
Assuming that they pass the examination, the successful doctoral candidate will traditionally invite their Opponent and Custos to a formal evening dinner known as a karonkka. These dinners are in themselves quite an event, with expectations of ‘fine’ dining, prepared speeches and smart dress.
The traditions involved in Finland for gaining a PhD and the symbolism of new doctors being presented with a Doctoral Hat and Sword is something quite special and one that I hope lasts for a long time to come. Had I done my PhD research in Finland, I wouldn’t have missed my Conferment Ceremony for the world!
Banner image source : https://blogs.helsinki.fi/eltdkpromootio2015/doctoral-conferment-ceremony/instructions/doctoral-hats-and-swords/
When you should and shouldn’t capitalise the names of chemical compounds and their abbreviations is not always clear.
This article will answer common questions about the PhD synopsis, give guidance on how to write one, and provide my thoughts on samples.
An abstract and introduction are the first two sections of your paper or thesis. This guide explains the differences between them and how to write them.
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Aaron’s now writing up his PhD thesis at the University of Birmingham. His research has investigated the Impact and Mitigation of Wavefront Distortions in Precision Interferometry.
Daisy’s a year and half into her PhD at the University of Surrey. Her research project is based around the control of electron spin state in InSb quantum wells using quantum point contacts.
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Lancaster University | PhD | Doctor of Philosophy Gown, Cap and Hood Set
How to measure your gown size
Measure your height from head to toe with shoes off
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UCL Institute for Global Prosperity
IGP announces scholarship opportunity for new Social Macroeconomics PhD scheme
22 February 2024
The Institute for Global Prosperity is pleased to announce the launch of a fully-funded PhD Scholarship (tuition fees only) for our new Social Macroeconomics PhD scheme.
About the scheme
The Institute for Global Prosperity launches a new PhD scheme in collaboration with our research network Rebuilding Macroeconomics and the Global Solutions Initiative to advance research on new approaches to the economy and development of a new economic paradigm.
About the scholarship:
The successful candidate for this scholarship will be supervised by Professor Dennis J. Snower (Founder and President of the Global Solutions Initiative). They will support empirical research on measuring different dimensions of human flourishing, including data gathering and empirical analysis of socio-economic and environmental data. An example of this is the SAGE dashboard which is a framework for capturing economic, social and environmental aspects of wellbeing, all of which are required for achieving meaningful, satisfying lives. The successful candidate will gain experience, skills and knowledge as well as have strong involvement in the Social Macroeconomics hub by contributing research support.
- For admissions in: October 2024
- Applications open: February 2024
- Closing date: May 31st 2024
- Scholarships available: One
- Value: Full tuition fees (UK Home)
- Available to: Prospective and current students
- Selection criteria: Academic merit and research alignment
- Eligible fee status: UK
- Duration: At least full time (3 years) or part time (5 years) MPhil/PhD
- Degree programme: Global Prosperity MPhil/PhD programme
- Location: Institute for Global Prosperity, UCL based in London
Scholarship eligibility criteria:
- You must submit your admission application by the 31 May deadline before you can apply for the scholarship
- Be a UK home student
- Hold, or expected to obtain a strong Master’s Degree in economics, or closely related subject, with an emphasis on quantitative skills
- A first class only UK bachelor’s degree in economics, or closely related subject, with an emphasis on quantitative skills
- A sufficiently strong and convincing proposal
Scholarship selection criteria:
- Research alignment to the specific theme on empirical measurement of human flourishing
- Academic excellence - as demonstrated by past academic results evidenced by transcripts, awards, and referees’ comments
- Personal statement - reasons for applying for the scholarship
- Research Potential - as demonstrated by the candidate’s research experience to date, their enthusiasm for research, the research proposal and its originality and potential impact
Note: Financial circumstances are not considered for the purposes of this Scholarship.
How to apply for the scholarship
1) Apply for admission to the Global Prosperity MPhil/PhD programme , of which the scheme is a part of, click here for details of how to apply. * You do not need to have secured an offer of a place at UCL in order to apply for the scholarship, but you must have submitted your admission application.
2) Check whether you meet our scholarship criteria (see above)
3) Apply for the scholarship via this online form. * Scholarship details and link to the online scholarship application form are also available on the IGP funding webpage .
4) Await your scholarship offer
We will notify you if you have been successful within 6-8 weeks after the deadline. This may be longer due to other external factors.
If you have further queries on the PhD application and Scholarship opportunity, please contact: [email protected]
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Stanford Medicine study identifies distinct brain organization patterns in women and men
Stanford Medicine researchers have developed a powerful new artificial intelligence model that can distinguish between male and female brains.
February 20, 2024
'A key motivation for this study is that sex plays a crucial role in human brain development, in aging, and in the manifestation of psychiatric and neurological disorders,' said Vinod Menon. clelia-clelia
A new study by Stanford Medicine investigators unveils a new artificial intelligence model that was more than 90% successful at determining whether scans of brain activity came from a woman or a man.
The findings, published Feb. 20 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, help resolve a long-term controversy about whether reliable sex differences exist in the human brain and suggest that understanding these differences may be critical to addressing neuropsychiatric conditions that affect women and men differently.
“A key motivation for this study is that sex plays a crucial role in human brain development, in aging, and in the manifestation of psychiatric and neurological disorders,” said Vinod Menon , PhD, professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences and director of the Stanford Cognitive and Systems Neuroscience Laboratory . “Identifying consistent and replicable sex differences in the healthy adult brain is a critical step toward a deeper understanding of sex-specific vulnerabilities in psychiatric and neurological disorders.”
Menon is the study’s senior author. The lead authors are senior research scientist Srikanth Ryali , PhD, and academic staff researcher Yuan Zhang , PhD.
“Hotspots” that most helped the model distinguish male brains from female ones include the default mode network, a brain system that helps us process self-referential information, and the striatum and limbic network, which are involved in learning and how we respond to rewards.
The investigators noted that this work does not weigh in on whether sex-related differences arise early in life or may be driven by hormonal differences or the different societal circumstances that men and women may be more likely to encounter.
Uncovering brain differences
The extent to which a person’s sex affects how their brain is organized and operates has long been a point of dispute among scientists. While we know the sex chromosomes we are born with help determine the cocktail of hormones our brains are exposed to — particularly during early development, puberty and aging — researchers have long struggled to connect sex to concrete differences in the human brain. Brain structures tend to look much the same in men and women, and previous research examining how brain regions work together has also largely failed to turn up consistent brain indicators of sex.
In their current study, Menon and his team took advantage of recent advances in artificial intelligence, as well as access to multiple large datasets, to pursue a more powerful analysis than has previously been employed. First, they created a deep neural network model, which learns to classify brain imaging data: As the researchers showed brain scans to the model and told it that it was looking at a male or female brain, the model started to “notice” what subtle patterns could help it tell the difference.
This model demonstrated superior performance compared with those in previous studies, in part because it used a deep neural network that analyzes dynamic MRI scans. This approach captures the intricate interplay among different brain regions. When the researchers tested the model on around 1,500 brain scans, it could almost always tell if the scan came from a woman or a man.
The model’s success suggests that detectable sex differences do exist in the brain but just haven’t been picked up reliably before. The fact that it worked so well in different datasets, including brain scans from multiple sites in the U.S. and Europe, make the findings especially convincing as it controls for many confounds that can plague studies of this kind.
“This is a very strong piece of evidence that sex is a robust determinant of human brain organization,” Menon said.
Until recently, a model like the one Menon’s team employed would help researchers sort brains into different groups but wouldn’t provide information about how the sorting happened. Today, however, researchers have access to a tool called “explainable AI,” which can sift through vast amounts of data to explain how a model’s decisions are made.
Using explainable AI, Menon and his team identified the brain networks that were most important to the model’s judgment of whether a brain scan came from a man or a woman. They found the model was most often looking to the default mode network, striatum, and the limbic network to make the call.
The team then wondered if they could create another model that could predict how well participants would do on certain cognitive tasks based on functional brain features that differ between women and men. They developed sex-specific models of cognitive abilities: One model effectively predicted cognitive performance in men but not women, and another in women but not men. The findings indicate that functional brain characteristics varying between sexes have significant behavioral implications.
“These models worked really well because we successfully separated brain patterns between sexes,” Menon said. “That tells me that overlooking sex differences in brain organization could lead us to miss key factors underlying neuropsychiatric disorders.”
While the team applied their deep neural network model to questions about sex differences, Menon says the model can be applied to answer questions regarding how just about any aspect of brain connectivity might relate to any kind of cognitive ability or behavior. He and his team plan to make their model publicly available for any researcher to use.
“Our AI models have very broad applicability,” Menon said. “A researcher could use our models to look for brain differences linked to learning impairments or social functioning differences, for instance — aspects we are keen to understand better to aid individuals in adapting to and surmounting these challenges.”
The research was sponsored by the National Institutes of Health (grants MH084164, EB022907, MH121069, K25HD074652 and AG072114), the Transdisciplinary Initiative, the Uytengsu-Hamilton 22q11 Programs, the Stanford Maternal and Child Health Research Institute, and the NARSAD Young Investigator Award.
About Stanford Medicine
Stanford Medicine is an integrated academic health system comprising the Stanford School of Medicine and adult and pediatric health care delivery systems. Together, they harness the full potential of biomedicine through collaborative research, education and clinical care for patients. For more information, please visit med.stanford.edu .
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