Brains of Males and Females Are Wired Differently


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Men are from Mars and women are from Venus, or something like that. A study recently published by Proceedings of National Academy of Sciences through work completed by the University of Pennsylvania's Perelman School of Medicine analyzed "connectomes" to determine whether the sexes are, in fact, wired differently. This study obtained information from 949 participants (with 428 being males and 521 being females) all aged between 8 and 22. It should be noted that the results from the study showed few differences for prepubescent individuals aged 13 and younger regardless of the sex. Now, on to the good stuff.

Through the use of diffusion tension imaging (DTI), results showed greater activity for males within one hemisphere of the brain, with movement occurring from the frontal area to the dorsal area of the hemisphere. In addition, the male brain contains more nerve fibers that aid in learning and completing an in-depth, solitary task. On the other hand, females had a greater interaction between the left and right hemispheres, which help in distinguishing the nuance of multiple social cues.

This study showed a relationship between neural pathways and the sex of an individual where males were more inclined to excel at completing one single-focused job, while females were more apt to multi-task. Thus, the idea of males being superior navigators and directors, while women excel in the areas of social competency and memory-retention may actually be rooted in scientific principles.

Ragini Verma, who is a professor at Perelman and specializes in radiology, explained the purpose behind the study. "These maps show us a stark difference and 'complementarity' in the architecture of the human brain that helps provide a potential neural basis as to why men excel at certain tasks and women at others," Verma said.

According to Ruben Gur, who is a contributor to the study, "It's quite striking how complementary the brains of women and men really are. Detailed connectome maps of the brain will not only help us better understand the differences between how men and women think, but it will also give us more insight into the roots of neurological disorders, which are often sex related."

[Images Via Wikimedia Commons and Courtesy of Lightworks, Helmuth Ellgaard, and John Fleming]