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Gender. Males > Females. Introduction.

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Males > Females

  • One of the most interesting differences appear in the way men and women estimate time, judge speed of things, carry out mental mathematical calculations, orient in space and visualize objects in three dimensions, etc. In all these tasks, women and men are strikingly different, as they are too in the way their brains process language.
  • This may account for the fact that there are many more male mathematicians, airplane pilots, engineers, architects and race car drivers than female ones.
  • On the other hand, women are better than men in human relations, recognizing emotional overtones in others and in language, emotional and artistic expressiveness, esthetic appreciation, verbal language and carrying out detailed and pre-planned tasks
brain mass
Brain Mass
  • Male brain is, however, 10% larger than females
    • Males have larger bodies, more muscle, and thus need more neurons to control them
  • However, while men have more neurons in the cerebral cortex, women have a more developed neuropil, which is the space between cell bodies, which contains synapses, dendrites and axons, and allows for communication among neurons
  • This may explain why women are more prone to dementia than  men
    • Although both may lose the same number of neurons due to the disease, males would be less affected since they have a larger number of nerve cells,
      • This could prevent some of the functional losses
  • Two areas in the frontal and temporal lobes related to language (Broca and Wernicke) were significantly larger in women
  • This provides a biological reason for women's superiority in thoughts associated with language
  • Using MRI’s, scientists found that women had 23% more volume in Broca’s area and 13% more volume in Wernicke’s area than men did
speech cont
Speech cont.
  • The female brain processes verbal language simultaneously in the two hemispheres of the frontal brain
  • Men tend to process it in the left side only.
    • This difference was demonstrated in a test that asked subjects to read a list of nonsense words and determine if they rhyme
  • People who use pictographic written languages tend also to use both sides of the brain, regardless of gender.
inferior parietal lobule
Inferior-Parietal Lobule
  • Scientists working at Johns Hopkins University have discovered that there is a region in the cortex, called inferior-parietal lobule (IPL) which is significantly larger in men than in women
  • This area is bilateral and is located just above the level of the ears
ipl continued
IPL continued
  • Furthermore, the left side of the IPL is larger in men than the right side
  • In women, it’s the other way around
    • Although the difference between left and right sides is not so large as in men, noted the JHU researchers
  • This is the same area which was shown to be larger in the brain of Albert Einstein, as well as in other physicists and mathematicians.
    • It seems that the IPL's size correlates highly with mental mathematical abilities.
ipl continued1
IPL continued
  • The IPL allows the brain to process information from senses and help in selective attention and perception (for example, women are more able to focus on specific stimuli, such as a baby crying in the night).
  • Studies have linked the right IPL with the memory involved in understanding and manipulating spatial relationships and the ability to sense relationships between body parts.
  • It is also related to the perception of our own affects or feelings. The left IPL is involved with perception of time and speed, and the ability of mentally rotate 3-D figures
orbitofrontal to amygdala ratio
Orbitofrontal-to-amygdala ratio
  • One study measured the size of the orbitofrontal cortex, a region involved in regulating emotions, and compared it with the size of the amygdala, which functions to produce emotional reactions.
  • The investigators found that women possess a significantly larger orbitofrontal-to-amygdala ratio (OAR) than men do.
    • This can mean that women might be more capable of controlling their emotional reactions.
limbic size
Limbic Size
  • Females have a larger deep limbic system than males. This gives females several advantages and disadvantages.
  • Due to the larger deep limbic brain women are more in touch with their feelings, they are generally better able to express their feelings than men.
  • They have an increased ability to bond and be connected to others .
  • Females have a more acute sense of smell, which is likely to have developed from an evolutionary need for the mother to recognize her young.
limbic size1
Limbic Size
  • Having a larger deep limbic system leaves a female more susceptible to depression, especially at times of significant hormonal changes such as the onset of puberty
  • Women attempt suicide three times more than men do
  • Yet, men kill themselves three times more than women, in part, because they use more violent means of killing themselves (women tend to use overdoses with pills while men tend to either shoot or hang themselves) and men are generally less connected to others than are women.
  • Disconnection from others increases the risk of completed suicides.
brain structure
Brain Structure
  • Females have a larger and more developed corpus callosum than men
    • Better communication between the two sides
    • Men tend to be more left brained
  • Female’s have a larger and more developed frontal lobe than men
    • Heightened perception of emotions than men
  • The volume of a specific nucleus in the hypothalamus is twice as large in heterosexual men than in women and homosexual men
    • This causes a debate on whether there is a biological basis for homosexuality
brain structure1
Brain Structure
  • Females have mechanisms that enable them to detect men that will benefit their offspring
    • Genetic traits, paternal involvement
  • Males can detect females that promise rapid production of offspring and a disinclination to mate with other men (healthy, faithful, and fertile)
    • Men expect women to be faithful and women seek faithful men
      • Men do not feel compelled to remain faithful
  • A hormone is a chemical substance produced by an endocrine gland that has a specific effect on the activities of other organs in the body
  • The major female and male hormones can be classified as estrogens or androgens.
  • These are present in both males and females
    • Men produce 6-8 mg of the male hormone testosterone (an androgen) per day, compared to most women who produce 0.5 mg daily.
    • Female hormones, estrogens, are also present in both sexes, but in larger amounts for women.
  • In men, estrogens have no known function. An unusually high level, however, may reduce sexual appetite, cause erectile difficulties, produce some breast enlargement, and result in the loss of body hair in some men.
  • Androgens are sex hormones produced primarily by a male's testes, but are also produced in small amounts by the female's ovaries and the adrenal gland, an organ found in both sexes.
  • Androgens help trigger the development of the testes and penis in the male fetus. They jump start the process of puberty and influence the development of facial and body hair, deepening of the voice, and muscle development

After puberty, androgens, specifically testosterone, play a role in the regulation of the sex drive.

  • Large deficiencies of testosterone may cause a drop in sexual desire, and excessive testosterone may heighten sexual interest in both sexes