Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania released yesterday a study concluding that the brains of men and women are wired differently. To which the big fat multi-tasking brains of women worldwide responded, “Tell us something we don’t know.”
Breaking down the scientific jargon, what it comes down to is this: men work with one side of the brain at any given time while women transmit between the two. All the time; which explains why women can talk on the phone, make dinner and feed a baby all at once. If a man tried this, his brain might simply explode.
Seriously, in the study of 949 people, 521 of which were women and 428 men, findings conclude that men are better at learning and performing a single task while women are hard wired to be multi-taskers with superior memory, social cognition and the ability to create solutions that work for the whole and not just the individual.
The difference comes from how the brain transmits information, neural wiring. Neural wiring connecting regions across the brain account for the difference. Basically, women use both sides to connect. Men connect with one side at a time. Men, in other words, have greater connectivity within each hemisphere.
So the guys get motor control, spatial processing, perception and action while girls are gifted with attention span, word and face memory and social cognition.
Ask any mother of multi-gendered children and she will voice little surprise. There is seemingly no explanation for why male children can fashion weaponry from a piece of bread without prompt and no household weapons and little girls chatter incessantly whether someone is in the forest to hear or not.
The study appeared in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. It included young people, ages eight to age 22. Very little difference was noted before puberty but differences became more marked around ages 12 and 13 and grew larger with adulthood.
Researchers note the study does not suggest people cannot learn skills and train the brain to function at higher levels despite neural function. It just may be a more complicated than, “just do it.”
Might the study also shed light on some long held stereotypes concerning both sexes?
In relationships, why is it men need explicit instruction to understand the emotions of a female? Might it be that his brain, being hard wired as more task oriented, less talkative and more isolated just not “get it?” Women who vocalize their emotions clearly may find greater success in a male partner understanding more than their words.
Women, according to brain activity, are more in touch with feelings and the ability to express them. This brings about bonding with others, which can point to why women seemingly fell into the role of caregiver of the children throughout history. It also opens them up to depression. So what can a man do? Listen, ask questions, and make the effort to recognize what he does not understand.
Physically, the male brain is bigger than female brain. This does not point to greater intelligence. It is, instead, in order to control a bigger body. And the sector in a female brain that controls language is much larger than the male brain. Women talk more. Women talk at a higher level of emotion and understanding and if women suffer a stroke, they recover language more quickly than men.
What does all this mean? Combining a male and female brain would make the ultimate human? One sex is dominant? How about that we complement one another? Not that women, with our superior emotional connectivity, didn’t already know that.
Written by Linda Torkelson