Area de Psicobiologia. Universitat Jaume I. Castelló. Spain.
Funding agencies, academic institutions and editorial boards of scientific journals are promoting the incorporation of sex and gender related factors in biomedical research. However, to result in a real scientific advance, the upcoming studies require being accommodated in an adequate theoretical framework. Here we question whether such a framework can be build up from traditional “resi-dualistic” (as for residual and dualistic) positions that oppose sex to gender as biological vs. socially caused phenomena, hence reediting the old nature vs. nurture debate. Adhering to an increasing group of scientists and social critics, we present an alternative conceptualization that assumes the irremediable entanglement of sex and gender under the new concept of sex-gender. This concept is embedded in a wider developmental perspective that aims to transcend the traditional view of sex as a unitary and serially constructed trait equally imprinting reproductive and non-reproductive organs, such as the brain. Accordingly, sex-gender is re-conceived as an ontogenetic bias that, through its interactions with other factors and processes, variably affects the development of different outcomes in any sex-gendered individual. We briefly introduce these novel ideas and exemplify how they might be applied to addiction-related research.