Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Does Anyone Have "Alternating Gender Incongruity?"

I don't, but it sounds fascinating.  It seems to have made a huge splash in April 2012 and then... disappeared.

'Alternating Gender Incongruity' Causes Rapid Shifts Of Gender, Scientist Claims
A graduate student of famed neuroscientist Vilayanur S. Ramachandran has found a group of men and women who report that their sexual identity can switch involuntarily to that of the opposite sex and back again. The transgender metamorphosis, these people assert, can occur several times a day and at inopportune moments. It is also accompanied by the sensation of phantom breasts or genitalia of the non-biological sex.

'Our gender shifts by the hour': Incredible claim of group who suffer from 'phantom genitalia'
Scientist claim to have discovered a new gender of human which is neither male nor female.

It leaves those with the condition sensing ‘phantom genitalia’ of the opposite sex.

A group of people with the previously undiagnosed ‘alternating gender incongruity’ (AGI) said they can switch involuntarily from male to female and vice versa instantly.

Sexuality and "Alternating Gender Incongruity"
In an article from the (somewhat) controversial journal Medical Hypotheses, researchers claim to have found a new neuropsychiatric syndrome called Alternating Gender Incongruity. A reporter from Scientific American commented on the article a few weeks ago, and the blog Neuroskeptic carried a short synopsis of the study the week before that. However, neither has commented on what I think are the two most fascinating (and perhaps troubling) aspects of this study. 

and last....

Alternating gender incongruity: a new neuropsychiatric syndrome providing insight into the dynamic plasticity of brain-sex.
Between the two extreme ends of human sexuality - male and female - lie a poorly understood and poorly studied spectrum of ambiguously defined sexual identities that are very much a part of the human condition but defy rigid classification. "Bigender" is a recently formed sub-category of transgenderism, describing individuals who experience a blending or alternation of gender states. While recognized nominally by the APA, no scientific work to our knowledge has addressed this fascinating condition, or proposed any physiological basis for it. In addition, the alternation aspect has not been proposed as a nosological entity distinct from blending. We present descriptive data suggesting that many bigender individuals experience an involuntary switching of gender states without any amnesia for either state. In addition, similar to transsexual individuals, the majority of bigender individuals experience phantom breasts or genitalia corresponding to the non-biologic gender when they are in a trans-gender state. Finally, our survey found decreased lateralization of handedness in the bigender community. These observations suggest a biologic basis of bigenderism and lead us to propose a novel gender condition, "alternating gender incongruity" (AGI). We hypothesize that AGI may be related to an unusual degree or depth of hemispheric switching and corresponding callosal suppression of sex appropriate body maps in parietal cortex- possibly the superior parietal lobule- and its reciprocal connections with the insula and hypothalamus. This is based on two lines of reasoning. First, bigender individuals in our survey sample reported an elevated rate of bipolar disorder, which has been linked to slowed hemispheric switching. We hypothesize that tracking the nasal cycle, rate of binocular rivalry, and other markers of hemispheric switching will reveal a physiological basis for AGI individuals' subjective reports of gender switches. Switching may also trigger hormonal cascades, which we are currently exploring. Second, we base our hypotheses on ancient and modern associations between the left and right hemispheres and the male and female genders. By providing a case of sharp brain-sex shifts within individuals, we believe that the study of AGI could prove illuminating to scientific understanding of gender, body representation, and the nature of self.

Well, not really last.  Google the subject and you'll find lots of articles.


1 comment:

  1. I'd say there are a few things going on there.

    (1) The initial "discovery was made by a *graduate student*.

    (2) The media has a tendancy to uncritically overhype any new science discovery if they think it will get them link clicks.

    (3) There's a well-known phenomena in science called the "decline effect." Basically, any initial discovery / finding / result in a study is usually, over time and as it's studied more, proven to be less impressive than it seemed at first. It's usually a matter of further experimentation working out kinks in the original study, throwing out questionable data, and re-examining with more precise methodology.

    I have no doubt there are people out there who have this extremely fluid gender identity as these articls described them; in fact, they've been calling such people "gender fluid" for years.


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