Men’s brains, women’s brains
Who do you think has a more superior brain? Who’s more intelligent? Man or woman? Many men will of course grunt: Me Tarzan, me smart. And as expected, women will say: I’m Jane. I’m smarter. The age-old debate between husbands and wives, men and women, routinely picks up momentum whenever an article on the latest research on men’s brains and women’s brains is published.
A recent research study on this topic caused ripples and a lot of controversy when the findings were published in December last year. Here’s what the research team at the University of Pennsylvania, USA, headed by Dr. Ragini Verma found on scanning the brains of hundreds of young males and females.
They found that the brains of the two sexes were wired differently and that while men have more connectivity within each hemisphere of the brain, women have more connections between the two hemispheres.
The researchers said the two different patterns of connectivity show that women are better equipped for multi-tasking and remembering things, while men’s brains are wired more for coordinated actions, better perception, and for learning and focusing on single tasks. Apparently, we should never expect men to attend to more than one chore at a time for they’ll just mess things up.
No consensus among experts about his brain, her brain
But these findings have not gone unchallenged. There’s no real scientific proof for a difference in brain wiring or the significance of it, if indeed that is a fact, say some neuroscientists. “You cannot pick up a brain and say ‘that’s a girl’s brain, or that’s a boy’s brain’ in the same way you can with the skeleton. They look the same,” insists neuroscience expert Gina Rippon, a professor at the Aston University in Birmingham, UK.
That’s utter nonsense, say some other medical professionals and scientists who rubbish the very concept of a unisex brain. Of course, men’s brains and women’s brains are different, they say.
Dr. Louann Brizendine, who runs a “mood and hormone” clinic for women in San Francisco and has authored the two books “The Female Brain” and “The Male Brain” based on her analyses of over 1000 scientific studies, says the male and female hormones mould the brains of the two sexes differently, and different parts of the brain may be more developed in one sex and less developed in the other.
To give an example, she compares the area of the brain responsible for sexual thoughts in female and male brains.
According to Brizendine, if this “sex processor” were to be likened to an airport, then the one in women’s brains is like a tiny airport for landing small and private planes, but the one in male brains is like a huge international airport in comparison. And when it comes to communication and emotion, she says, “Women have an eight-lane superhighway for processing emotion, while men have a small country road.”
So, as you can see, “Men’s brains vs women’s brains” is an ongoing contentious debate that keeps smouldering between professionals too.
But having said that, there are some facts we simply have to accept. Men’s brains, on an average, are around 10% larger than women’s brains. We’ve known that for some time now. Nothing to dispute there. What’s disputable is the ridiculous assumption that a bigger brain indicates more intelligence.
Now, both women and men will agree that size is not everything. But did you know some scientists once used the fact that female brains tend to be smaller to assert that women are intellectually inferior to men? How utterly brainless! Sperm whales have brains that are five times heavier than human brains. But only a fool would conclude these giant creatures are five times more intelligent than humans, right?
Secondly, a man’s skull on an average, is thicker than a woman’s. So, no doubt about that, men are really thick-headed!
Men are from Mars, women are from Venus
John Gray, author of the bestseller “Men are from Mars, women are from Venus”, like many relationship counsellors and psychologists, believes the difference lies in the way men and women use their brains. They think differently, and because of their dissimilar patterns of brain activity they respond differently during their interactions with each other.
Psychologist Kevin Leman, author of “7 things he’ll never tell you, but you need to know” gives the example of a husband returning home from work and responding in monosyllables when his wife begins to talk to him about something important to her. As is characteristic of most women, the wife will conclude that her husband is being insensitive, or is not giving his full attention to her. Leman says it’s not that the husband is not interested in what the wife is saying; he just might not be prepared to come up with a proper answer at that moment.
Men find it difficult to express their emotions and are also less talkative, he says. They use barely one-third of the number of words women use in a day. So, whenever a husband, who has to listen to a whole lot of stuff from his wife every evening, responds with a “Oh…”, or “Hmm…” he might actually be thinking, “It’s Thursday, and I’m out of words already. But if you want to keep talking, honey, go ahead.”
Unfortunately, since most husbands and wives are not aware of the inherent difference in the way their minds work, they are frustrated when their spouses don’t think or behave like they themselves would.
Remember Henry Higgins in My Fair Lady wondering why a woman can’t be more like a man? The guy even gripes that women are “nothing but exasperating, irritating, vacillating, calculating, agitating, maddening, and infuriating hags”!
Women are hags? Well, men are all arrogant idiots, is the way most women would respond to crap like that. Some would even go so far as to declare that “wise men” is a classic example of an oxymoron. And so the battle of the sexes continues…
A couple of facts that prove men and women in some respects do seem to come from two different planets or two different species:
Men have sex-related thoughts almost every minute, and women, maybe once in two days. Sorry guys, but experts are unanimous about this one.
And too bad for the men, but women have the memory of an elephant. When they have to argue over an earlier fight, they remember every blasted detail. Men recall just the main point.
Thought I’d end by sharing this howlarious video with you about men’s brains and women’s brains featuring marriage counsellor Mark Gungor. Even as I laughed my way through it, I thought: Ain’t it true!
And for some more chuckles, here’s Harry Belafonte singing his hit song Man Smart, Women Smarter.