Key Differences In How Men And Women’s Brains Work
The differences in the brains are part of the evolution of human beings; as males and females alike have adjusted to the different roles and responsibilities. The effect of hormones and socio-cultural factors also contribute to the existing difference. The focus here is the disparity between the brains of men and women in terms of structure and functions.
Men’s brains are about 10 per cent larger than that of women. However, the higher brain volume in men does not translate into men being smarter or more intelligent than women. lO tests across a large number of women and men have not shown any statistically significant differences between the two sexes.
The Key Differences
The key difference in the brains is in the language areas. In men, the language area is predominantly located in the left hemisphere of the brain, whereas in women, language areas are located in both left and right hemispheres of the brain. In a research detecting blood flow to the brain while people listened to a novel, only the left hemisphere was activated in men. But on the other hand, both hemispheres were activated in women. The language areas on right frontal and temporal lobes are larger in women than in men. Also, these areas in girls mature about six years prior to boys.
These observations explain the proficiency of women in language skills. Females use language more during competitions. They gossip and manipulate information says David Geary, professor of psychological sciences at the University of Missouri. li there are more areas dedicated to a set of skills, it follows that the skills will be more refined. Women also use language to build relationships. Women pause and allow others to speak more, offering facilitative gestures. Also, certain disorders such as learning disability or dyslexia and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are more common in boys than in girls.
It is not that women have all the advantage’ Boys tare much better when it comes to mathematics and geometry. The areas of brain involved in math and geometry mature tour years earlier in boys than in girls. Males tend to have much larger inferior parietal lobules, the area of the brain that influences mathematical ability.
Interestingly, the same area of Einstein’s brain was discovered to be significantly large. However, researchers believe that the mathematical ability does not differ between the sexes. The apparent differences are because of socio-cultural factors like lack of encouragement for girls. lesser coaching/training and maths anxiety among girls.
IQ tests across a large number of women and men have not shown any statistically significant differences between the two sexes
Perception Of Pain
Men and women also perceive pain differently. Women require higher doses of painkillers for pain relief and are likely to complain more about pain and seek treatments for pain relief. The area of the brain that gets activated in pain is amygdala. In women, the left amygdala is activated, whereas in men. the right amygdala is activated during pain. The left amygdala has more intense connections with other parts of brain that modulate pain.
Women are better in recognition of emotional expressions and negative emotions. Short-term or working memory is also better in women than men. This is partly because women multitask. On the other hand. certain types of short-term memory such as visuo-spatial information are better in men. If a couple gets lost in a deep forest, it is the man who is more likely to find the correct route to safety.
Women are better than men in remembering specific dates or events, which explains why men forget important birthdays and anniversaries. When it comes to disorders of memory loss, men are more likely to suffer from age-related memory impairment. On the other hand, Alzheimer’s disease, the most common cause of dementia, is more common in women than men.
Response To Stress
Men and women differ in their responses to stressful situations too. Men tend to have a ‘tight or flight’ type of response. So they are either aggressive or run away. Women on the other hand approach with the ‘tend and befriend’ strategy. When faced with a situation, women first take care of themselves and their children (tending) and form strong group bonds (befriending). The reason for this is the hormone called oxytocin.
Oxytocin is released during stress in both men and women. Estrogen (female hormone) enhances oxytocin resulting in calming and nurturing feelings, whereas testosterone (male hormone produced in high levels during stress) reduces the effect of oxytocin.
Women are generally more emotional and express their feelings better. This is due to their larger deep limbic system. Women connect easily and provide better care for children. The downside to this ability is that women are more prone to depression. This is witnessed at the times of hormonal shifts such as after childbirth or during menstrual periods. Women are also more prone to develop anxiety.
A woman’s brain is different from a man’s brain in many ways and these differences have been the result of millions of years of evolution which help women and men adapt to the different roles they need to play in family as well as society.