Gender Differences: Brain Differences

Males and females are not only markedly different in the hormones that drive them, but they are also different in the way they think. The brains of men and women are actually wired differently.

“The human brain, like the human body, is sexed, and differences in the sex-specific human brain condition a wide range of behaviors that we typically associate with maleness or femaleness.”

George Mason University professor Robert Nadeau, the author of S/he Brain: Science, Sexual Politics, and the Feminist Movement

Nadeau says that the sex-specific differences in the brain are located both in the primitive regions, and in the neocortex–the higher brain regions. The neocortex contains 70 percent of the neurons in the central nervous system, and it is divided into two hemispheres joined by a 200-million fiber network called the corpus callosum.

The left hemisphere controls language analysis and expression and body movements
The right hemisphere is responsible for spatial relationships, facial expressionsemotional stimuli, and vocal intonations.

Men and women process information differently because of differences in a portion of the brain called the splenium, which is much larger in women than in men, and has more brain-wave activity.

Studies have shown that

  • Problemsolving tasks in female brains are handled by both hemispheres, while the male brain only uses one hemisphere.
  • Differences in the ways men and women communicate is also a function of sex-specific areas of the brain.

    Women seem to have an enhanced awareness of “emotionally relevant detailsvisual cuesverbal nuances, and hidden meanings,” writes Nadeau.
    Similarly, while male infants are more interested in objects than in people, female infants respond more readily to the human voice than do male infants.

Different Brains: Different Abilities

The difference between the male and female brain is not evidence of superiority or inferiority, but of specialization.

  • Michael Levin, writing in Feminism and Freedom, notes that, in general, males have better spatial and math skills than females, (these differences are inherited and appear in childhood, actually increasing during puberty).
  • On the other hand, girls tend to be more vocal than boys, are better at hearing higher frequencies, and do better than boys in reading and vocabulary tests.
  • Males have a vastly superior ability to visualize a threedimensional object than do women. This gives the male his often-observed superior abilities in math and geometrical reasoning. In addition, males are better skilled in gross motor movements than are girls.
  • Women have four times as many brain cells (neurons) connecting the right and left side of their brain (This latter finding provides physical evidence that supports the observation that men rely easily and more heavily on their left brain to solve one problem one step at a time).
  • Women have more efficient access to both sides of their brain (therefore greater use of their right brain. Women can focus on more than one problem at one time and frequently prefer to solve problems through multiple activities at a time).
  • A woman has greater constitutional vitality, perhaps because of her unique chromosomal pattern. Females simply have a stronger hold on life than males.

Facing Reality

Contrary to the wishful thinking of feminists, bisexuals, and transsexuals, there are profound differences between males and females–and those differences are programmed within the DNA from the moment of conception. The brains of females and males are clearly “sexed,” and testosterone and estrogen are the juices that augment maleness and femaleness.

To be sure, gender-distorting prenatal abnormalities do affect some individuals, and may increase the likelihood that such an afflicted person will later self-identify as transgendered or transsexual (and in some cases, homosexual).

But barring such unfortunate developmental errors— which we should not normalize as if they were not disruptions in normal growth and development–the simple truth remains: maleness and femaleness are innate and integral parts of our human design.

See Also:
Gender Differences: Intro & Physical Differences

Gender Differences:  Hormones

Gender Differences: Response to Pain/Danger/Aggression

Gender differences: psychological differences & Health risks

Sources for Gender Differences:

*Physical Fitness Training (US Army)
*University Of California – Los Angeles
*UCLA’s Center for Neurovisceral Sciences and Women’s Health studies how the brain, stress and emotions impact the development of disorders that affect mainly women.
*Understanding The Difference Between Men And Women, Michael G. Conner, Psy.D, Clinical & Medical Psychologist
*National Institutes of Health
*U.S Food and Drug Administration
*National Association for Research & Therapy of Homosexuality
*James C. Dobson, Ph.D., is founder and chairman emeritus of Focus on the Family
*John Stossel, “Boys & Girls Are Different: Men, Women, and the Sex Difference
*Robert Nadeau, “Brain Sex and the Language of Love,” The World & I
*Michael Levin, Feminism and Freedom
*Steven Goldberg, The Inevitability of Patriarchy
*Katherine Wilson, “Myth, Stereotype, and Cross-Gender Identity (21st Annual Feminist Psychology Conference, Portland, Oregon, 1996).
*Leslie Feinberg, Transgender Warriors, Beacon Press

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