The effect of gender on planning: An fMRI study using the Tower of London task

A. Boghi, R. Rasetti, F. Avidano, C. Manzone, L. Orsi, F. D'Agata, P. Caroppo, M. Bergui, P. Rocca, L. Pulvirenti, G. B. Bradac, F. Bogetto, R. Mutani, P. Mortara

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Since the introduction of brain mapping, evidences of functional gender differences have been corroborating previous behavioral and neuropsychological results showing a sex-specific brain organization. We investigated gender differences in brain activation during the performance of the Tower of London (TOL) task which is a standardized test to assess executive functions. Eighteen healthy subjects (9 females and 9 males) underwent fMRI scanning while solving a series of TOL problems with different levels of difficulty. Data were analyzed by modeling both genders and difficulty task load. Task-elicited brain activations comprised a bilateral fronto-parietal network, common to both genders; within this network, females activated more than males in dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) and right parietal cortex, whereas males showed higher activity in precuneus. A prominent parietal activity was found at low level of difficulty while, with heavier task demand, several frontal regions and subcortical structures were recruited. Our results suggest peculiar gender strategies, with males relying more on visuospatial abilities and females on executive processing.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)999-1010
Number of pages12
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Nov 15 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Neurology

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'The effect of gender on planning: An fMRI study using the Tower of London task'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this

    Boghi, A., Rasetti, R., Avidano, F., Manzone, C., Orsi, L., D'Agata, F., Caroppo, P., Bergui, M., Rocca, P., Pulvirenti, L., Bradac, G. B., Bogetto, F., Mutani, R., & Mortara, P. (2006). The effect of gender on planning: An fMRI study using the Tower of London task. NeuroImage, 33(3), 999-1010.