Why do Men and Women tick differently?
by Ralph Kratzer
As much as we yearn for equality between the sexes: There are things that distinguish men and women. And by that I do not mean soccer passion and passion for shoes. Now researchers have in fact proven: men´s and women´s brains differ anatomically.
Even in the womb the smaller Y-chromosomes, which regulate the amount of sex hormones make that a fetus develops male traits. And indeed, also the development of the brain is influenced by this. This means that the different behaviour of the sexes is due to the different development of brain structures.
Men´s brains are larger, women´s brains are fitter!
Although the cerebellum is similar in size in both sexes, men have on average a larger cerebrum. Also, the number of certain neurons at different locations of the brain is different – an explanation for the different responses to chemical messengers such as sex hormones. Female brains have hormones that make them indeed three times more susceptible to migraines, but they also help to repair brain damage. Statistics prove: Women recover better from head injury or brain strokes than men. And their brains remain, thanks to the greater proportion of female hormones, more powerful as they age.
In fact, male thinking plays in other regions of the brain as female. When a woman is listening or speaking, both brain hemispheres are in most cases approximately equallyactive. Men think primarily with the left hemisphere. Also, the fact that women have a poorer orientation, explains: In an experiment of the University of Ulm/Germany, the subjects were asked to find a way out of a complicated maze. While women mostly used the anterior brain regions it was far deeper in the men´s brain. Different skills are thus processed in individual brain areas.
Innate or instilled?
The question remains, how much of our gender-role behaviour is influenced from the outside and what is genetically programmed. Many parents have tried it: girls or boys who get the toys of the opposite sex to play, mainly prefer the typical girl or boy games and practices.
The British psychologist Simon Baron-Cohen argues that men are more interested in systems, which is why they are better suited for mathematical or mechanical considerations. Whereas women have greater empathic talent and are therefore linguistic talented. And actually more men suffer from speech disorders than women.
It is not clearly known to what extent these differences are now actually innate or just instilled. Not only the genetic program is responsible for how the brain works. The experiences and environmental influences, especially during childhood and adolescence help to shape it .
Division of labour in the cave.
It remains the question how these genetic differences came about. The explanation of the researchers: Human offspring in the stone age times needed a relatively long period of intensive supervision by the parents. So the division of domestic duties had been split: the men took over the hunting for which they of course needed a good three-dimensional vision. The women stayed home, tended the children and the social contacts and thus developed their language skills. Still to date this heritage seems to affect the anatomy.
Actually a nice idea, because it means that men and women enrich each other necessarily.