Sex-role egalitarianism (SRE) is the belief that the sex of an individual should not influence the perception of his or her rights, abilities, obligations, and opportunities. Thus, low SRE reflects a more conservative stereotypical view on sex-role. Here we investigated anatomical correlates of individual differences in SRE in the present study. We used voxel-based morphometry, a questionnaire to determine an individual's SRE and associated psychological measures, and determined the association of SRE with gray matter structures and their cognitive nature in healthy individuals (375 men and 306 women; age, 20.6±1.8 years). We demonstrated that higher SRE was associated with smaller regional gray matter density (rGMD) in the anterior part of the posterior cingulate cortex (PCC) and higher rGMD in the right amygdala. Post-hoc analyses revealed psychological measures characterized by contentious interpersonal orientations, such as contentious achievement motivation, were associated with lower SRE and higher rGMD in the anterior part of PCC. Depressive tendencies were associated with lower SRE and higher rGMD in the right amygdala. These findings suggest that variations in stereotype on sex role have roots in the limbic brain structures linked to contentious interpersonal orientation (cingulate) and negative mood (amygdala).
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