Brain Games Facts: Battle Of The Sexes

Video highlights from Brain Games

Men and Women really are wired differently! Find out more on Brain Games.

•    The difference between the male brain and the female brain begins before birth. Using an ultrasound scanner, researchers in a recent study found that the corpus callosum, the bridge of nerve tissue that connects the right and left hemispheres of the brain had a thicker measurement in female fetuses than male fetuses starting at just 26 weeks of pregnancy.

•    Researchers have found that generally, girls outperform boys when it comes to fine motor skills and use of language until puberty. A study of 508 children ages 2 months to 16 years found that cerebral areas that process these skills develop six years earlier for girls.

•    A recent study of 508 children ages 2 months to 16 years found the areas of the brain that process special rotation and that are involved in math and geometry mature about four years earlier in boys than in girls.

•    While male brain volumes are overall larger than women, studies have found that women generally have larger volumes in areas of the brain with emotions and language, while men have larger volumes in areas associated with memory, learning, and survival instincts.

•    Men and women use two entirely different areas of their brain spatial skills, like navigating directions. Women use the cerebral cortex and men use the left hippocampus to solve navigation puzzles. The hippocampus automatically codes where you are in space, but does not activate in women’s brains for tasks requiring navigation. Men tend to navigate through depth reckoning, i.e. “go north, and then west”, and women tend to mark their way with landmarks.

•    A recent study confirmed that men’s and women’s brains are wired differently. The right and left hemispheres have a stronger connection in female brains, and the front and back regions are more highly connected in male brains.

•    Along with different wiring, there are differences in the structure of the male and female brain. Men tend to think with their gray matter, of which their brains have roughly 6.5 times more than female brains. On the other hand, females think with their white matter, of which they have about 10 times more than male brains.

•    Women’s brains have a more complicated setup than male brains. Recent studies show that this may allow their brains to work more efficiently and more quickly than men’s.  

•    A woman’s pain threshold changes with her estrogen levels. When the brain receives a pain signal, it releases endorphins or enkephalins to help control the pain. When estrogen levels are high, this pain management system works more effectively than when estrogen levels are low. It is part of the reason that women can endure the pain of childbirth.

•    Several studies suggest that men don’t feel acute pain as intensely as their female counterparts, but a recent study shows found that when it comes to chronic pain, there is no difference in both genders’ experience of pain, mood, or quality of life with the pain.
 

Discuss this article

Newsletter

Never miss a Nat Geo moment

Your email address
Submit