Brain Differences Between Genders
Its no secret that boys and girls are differentvery different. The differences between genders, however, extend beyond what the eye can see. Research reveals major distinguishers between male and female brains.
Scientists generally study four primary areas of difference in male and female brains: processing, chemistry, structure, and activity. The differences between male and female brains in these areas show up all over the world, but scientists also have discovered exceptions to every so-called gender rule. You may know some boys who are very sensitive, immensely talkative about feelings, and just generally dont seem to fit the boy way of doing things. As with all gender differences, no one way of doing things is better or worse. The differences listed below are simply generalized differences in typical brain functioning, and it is important to remember that all differences have advantages and disadvantages.
Male brains utilize nearly seven times more gray matter for activity while female brains utilize nearly ten times more white matter. What does this mean?
Gray matter areas of the brain are localized. They are information- and action-processing centers in specific splotches in a specific area of the brain. This can translate to a kind of tunnel vision when they are doing something. Once they are deeply engaged in a task or game, they may not demonstrate much sensitivity to other people or their surroundings.
Are Male And Female Brains Biologically Different
The scientific debate around this question keeps raging, but one neuroscientist says were more alike than we think.
Pop neuroscience has long been fascinated with uncovering secret biological differences between male and female brains. The question of whether men and women have innately different brains rarely fails to get people riled up. Just last year, the Google engineer James Damore caused an uproar after publishing a manifesto detailing the various ways women were biologically different from men.
But Lise Eliot, a professor of neuroscience at the Chicago Medical School and the author of Pink Brain, Blue Brain, says that anyone who goes searching for innate differences between the sexes wont find them.
People say men are from Mars and women are from Venus, but the brain is a unisex organ, she said onstage Monday at the Aspen Ideas Festival, which is co-hosted by the Aspen Institute and The Atlantic.
Thats a bold statement, and one science is divided on. It seems to depend on what exactly is being measured. For example, a large study in the U.K. found that many regions of mens brains were larger than womens, and that women on average had thicker cerebral cortices. What does that mean for how the brain works? Unclear. Another study found that averaged across many people, sex differences in brain structure do exist, but an individual brain is likely to be just that: individual, with a mix of features, as New Scientistreported in 2015.
Mri Data Acquisition And Preprocessing
The database used in this work is from the Human Connectome Project . This open-access database contains data from 1,065 subjects, including 490 men and 575 women. The ages range is from 22 to 36. This database represents a relatively large sample size compared to most neuroimaging studies. Using this open-access dataset allows replication and extension of this work by other researchers.
We performed DTI data preprocessing includes format conversion, b0 image extraction, brain extraction, eddy current correction, and tensor FA calculation. The first four steps were processed with the HCP diffusion pipeline, including diffusion weighting , direction , time series, brain mask, a file for gradient non-linearities during model fitting, and log files of EDDY processing. In the final step we use dtifit to calculate the tensors to get the FA, as well as mean diffusivity , axial diffusivity , and radial diffusivity values.
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Male Female And Transgender Brains
The male and female brain have structural differences, he says. Men and women tend to have different volumes in certain areas of the brain.
When we look at the transgender brain, we see that the brain resembles the gender that the person identifies as, Dr. Altinay says. For example, a person who is born with a penis but ends up identifying as a female often actually has some of the structural characteristics of a female brain.
And the brain similarities arent only structural.
Were also finding some functional similarities between the transgender brain and its identified gender, Dr. Altinay says.
In studies that use MRIs to take images of the brain as people perform tasks, the brain activity of transgender people tends to look like that of the gender they identify with.
Research in these areas is extremely limited, and more research needs to be done to find conclusive results, Dr. Altinay notes. But were already seeing definite trends.
Though these differences in brain structure and function are important markers for gender determination, it isnt always as simple as male or female.
Some research shows the brains of transgender people are somewhere in between, sharing characteristics of both male and female brains, Dr. Altinay says.
How Gender Stereotypes Led Brain Science
Research so far has failed to challenge deep prejudice, says Gina Rippon
Several things went wrong in the early days of sex differences and brain imaging research. With respect to sex differences, there was a frustrating backward focus on historical beliefs in stereotypes . Studies were designed based on the go-to list of the robust differences between females and males, generated over the centuries, or the data were interpreted in terms of stereotypical female/male characteristics which may not have even been measured in the scanner. If a difference was found, it was much more likely to be published than a finding of no difference, and it would also breathlessly be hailed as an at last the truth moment by an enthusiastic media. Finally the evidence that women are hard-wired to be rubbish at map reading and that men cant multi-task! So the advent of brain imaging at the end of the 20th century did not do much to advance our understanding of alleged links between sex and the brain. Here in the 21st century, are we doing any better?
Seeing the life-long impressions made on our plastic brains by the experiences and attitudes they encounter makes us realise that we need to take a really close look at what is going on outside our heads as well as inside. We can no longer cast the sex differences debate as nature versus nurture we need to acknowledge that the relationship between a brain and its world is not a one-way street, but a constant two-way flow of traffic.
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Differences Between The Male And Female Brain Supported By Science
Lets look at the main differences supported by science:
- Men have a bigger brain than women. A study by Witelson found that the average weight of womens brains was 1248 grams, while that of men was higher at 1378 grams. But making a separate observation of some brains, the study observed that some women had greater brain capacity than some men. Size is not directly related to intelligence or greater capacity, so this discoverys implications are not exactly known.
- The hippocampus is usually bigger for women and the amygdala is bigger for men, according to a study conducted by Cahill in 2006. The hippocampus is related to functions such as immediate memory and amygdala with emotions and aggression.
- Some areas located in the brain activate differently in each sex. For example, emotional memories activate the left amygdala more in women, but the right in men.
- Men are better at performing tasks of rotation. Tasks of rotation consist of observing a geometric figure and imagining how the image would rotate mentally. It is a visuospatial task, like orientation on a map.
- Women are better at emotional processing.;They have more resources when it comes to understanding and processing their emotions. This is also related to greater empathy in women.
Womens Intuition Is Real
Other brain imaging research reveals that females have larger areas in the brain dedicated to tracking gut feelings, specifically areas deep in the frontal lobes called the insula and ACG. The female brain is generally quicker at assessing the thoughts of others based on limited information, gut feelings, and hunches.
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Differences In The Hypothalamus
The hypothalamus is one area of the brain with well-documenteddifferences between men and women. Two areas of the hypothalamus, thepreoptic area and the suprachiasmatic nucleus, have clear differences infemale and male brains.
Preoptic Area of the Hypothalamus: This area of thehypothalamus is involved in mating behavior.In males of several species including humans, the preoptic area is greaterin volume, in cross-sectional area and in the number of cells. In men,this area is about 2.2 times larger than in women and contains 2 timesmore cells. Apparently, the difference in this area is only apparentafter a person is 4 years old. At 4 years of age, there is a decrease inthe number of cells in this nucleus in girls. The exactfunction of this nucleus in behavior is not fully known.
Suprachiasmatic Nucleusof the Hypothalamus: This area of the hypothalamus is involved withcircadian rhythms and reproduction cycles. The only difference betweenwomen and men in this area is one of shape: in males, this nucleus isshaped like a sphere; in females it is more elongated. However, thenumber of cells and volume of this nucleus are not different in men andwomen. It is possible that the shape of the suprachiasmaticnucleus influences the connections that this area makes with other areasof the brain, especially the other areas of the hypothalamus.
This Post Has 6 Comments
Female brain shrinks after birth and it takes months for it to return to the natural size if it does And im pretty sure that after a few weeks with no sex women and men think about it the same amount of times..
Female brain Is very Beautiful. I stay with onw ao i see daily. Loves
Oh really !!!! Surprised to read it.I was thinking I am the most intelligent being a male and all females have always shrunken brain.lolz
The Bell Curve applies to the generalizations. There are always the small percentage that are out of the majority.
Wow, I was just waiting for all the hardcore feminists in the comments section complaining about this and I have to say, Im a little disappointed
Awww come on peeps, life is fun and data biases Bell curves, Our anatomies somehow always manage to find a way to continue our species, at least so far. No need to get bent. Read it, do more research if wished, get many Expert opinions and somehow your brain will process it as its wont. Think about it. Talking is fun, eating is fun, drinking is fun, and sex is fun. Mother Nature seemed to have figured it all out, so have fun. Getting bent is Not fun, in my book. I am a Male, father of three, was married 57 years and still love women for and mostly for all their foibles.
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Male Vs Female Brains: More Similar Or More Different
Since the mid-19th century, researchers claimed they could identify the sex of an indivudual just by examining their disembodied brain. However, a new study out of Tel Aviv University disputes this. Indeed, all brians share characteristics, some more common in males, others more common in females, and other characteristics that are common in both of the sexes. While there are some general tendencies for each sex–for instance, men tend to have a larger amygdala–these differences are quite small and highly influenced by the environment. Essentially, throughout history, scientists have attempted to find the differences between male and female brains, when, in actuality, their similarieis are far greater in number.
Joel and her team also analyzed the propensity for assumed gender behavior and found that only 0.1% of subjects displayed only stereotypically-male or stereotypically-female behaviors, instead finding the vast majority of people to have mixed ‘male’ and ‘female’ behavioral characteristics. These findings paint an interesting picture, but there is still much more to learn. If male and female brains are so similar, they why are males five times as likely to develop autism or why are females twice as likely to suffer from depression? It’s important to understand how these differences develop out of seemingly similar physiologies.;
Neuroscience Of Sex Differences
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The neuroscience of sex differences is the study of characteristics that separate the male and female brain. Psychological sex differences are thought by some to reflect the interaction of genes, hormones, and social learning on brain development throughout the lifespan.
Some evidence from brain morphology and function studies indicates that male and female brains cannot always be assumed to be identical from either a structural or functional perspective, and some brain structures are sexually dimorphic.
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How Exactly Is The Male Brain Wired In Comparison With The Female One
Id like to share the results of one particular study in more detail.
Having spent countless hours in workshops and having studied more than 1,000 brain scans, scientists came to a conclusion that confirms the old common belief stating that the male brain works in a different way than the female one.
The map of the neural circuit of the average female brain contains a larger number of connections between the left and right hemispheres, contrasted with the male one, where the connection in regions between the back and the front of the brain is predominantly stronger.
Ragini Verma, a researcher at the University of Pennsylvania, speaking at the Guardian, admitted that the big surprise was that the findings essentially confirmed stereotypes.
That is, men are wired for perception and coordination, while women have enhanced social skills and memory, which explains why they better cope with multitasking.
According to Verma, the left side of the brain is responsible for logical thinking while the right one for intuitive thinking. So, when a task engages both hemispheres, women are doing it better.
It also explains why women are better listeners. Another impressive discovery was that male and female brains are essentially complementary.
Discriminative Power Of Brain Regions
In order to determine which brain regions may play important role in gender-related brain structural differences, we repeated the same 3D PCNN-based classification on each specific brain region. We segmented each FA image into 246 gray matter regions of interests according to the Human Brainnetome Atlas and 48 white matter ROIs according to the ICBM-DTI-81 White-Matter Labels Atlas . The classification accuracy was then obtained for each ROIs. A higher accuracy indicates a more important role of that ROI in gender-related difference. A map was then obtained based on the classification accuracies of different ROIs to show their distribution in the brain.
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Zeroing In On Neural Circuits
Shahs experiments in animals employ technologies enabling scientists to boost or suppress the activity of individual nerve cells or even of single genes within those nerve cells in a conscious, active animals brain. These experiments have pinpointed genes whose activity levels differ strongly at specific sites in male versus female mices brains.
What would happen, Shahs team wondered, if you knocked out of commission one or another of these genes whose activity level differed between male and female brains? They tried it with one of their candidate genes, turning off one that was normally more active in females.
Doing this, they found, totally shredded mouse moms willingness to defend their nests from intruders and to retrieve pups who had wandered away maternal mandates that normal female mice unfailingly observe yet had no observable effect on their sexual behavior. Torpedoing a different gene radically reduced a female mouses mating mood, but males in which the gene has been trashed appear completely normal.
Which is not to say every mans or womans brain looks the same. Our multitudinous genetic variations interact with some of our genes differential responsiveness to estrogens versus androgens. This complicated pinball game affects goings-on in at least some of the brains neural circuits and in whatever little piece of behavior each of these neural circuits manages.
The Differences Between Individuals Cannot Be Reduced To Sex
Human behavior is very diverse and unpredictable.;Despite our efforts to find an answer to such differences, we must admit that heterogeneity is an inherent characteristic for all humans. Despite attempts to attribute differences in the behavior of each sex to differences in the brain, we havent proven very much.
The reality is that differences between sexes are not as marked as they are between individuals. Probably;a large number of these differences are due to culture.;In fact, cultural beliefs, such as women being bad at math, can have an effect on expectations or the assessment we can make of our own abilities.
It would not be surprising to find that the differences in behavior between sexes has their roots in how each their upbringing. Its important not to get carried away by the attractiveness of curious, striking data.
Instead, we should interpret information rigorously. Its time to stop perpetuating beliefs that are not completely true. Maybe this way we can get a little closer to;equal opportunities and allow both sexes to reach their potential.
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