Brains Apart

A number of scientific studies have been done over the years looking at the differences between men and women. For example men typically have better motor and spatial skills while women have better social cognition and verbal memory. Images have been taken of the brains of both genders and women’s brains have a higher percentage of gray matter which is the computational tissue of the brain, while men have a higher percentage of white matter, the connective cables of the brain.

Technical Term: Matter: We use the word matter when talking about the brain to discuss the tissue or specialized cells which make up the brain.

I doubt it’s much of a secret that men and women react differently to different situations, but until recently there haven’t been any studies to show that our brains are actually wired differently from those of the opposite gender. Research from Penn Medicine in Pennsylvania has found very interesting differences in the neural wiring of men and women that help explain the different cognitive strengths each gender tends to display.

The team’s study was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in December. Led by Ragini Verma, PhD, an associate professor in the department of Radiology, researchers conducted one of the largest brain connectivity studies, using imaging. They took almost 1000 young people ranging in age from 8-22 years old and used diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) to scan their brains. DTI is water-based imaging technique that can trace and highlight the fiber pathways connecting the different regions of the brain. The researchers analyzed the participants as a single group and as three separate groups split up by age. They found females show greater connectivity in the supratentorial region between the left and right hemispheres. Men however display greater connectivity within each hemisphere. In everyday life terms, this means on average, women have better memory and social cognition skills, which makes then better at multitasking while men are more likely better at learning and performing a single task.

Stark difference: Stark in this context means strong or obvious. It is often used with the words ‘difference’ and ‘contrast’.

“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,” Dr Verma said in a press statement about the study.

Researchers also found that the brain develops gender-wise in important ways as children grow up. There were only a few gender differences in the connectivity in children younger than 13 years, but the differences were more distinct in adolescents aged 14 to 17 years and young adults older than 17. The study’s results aren’t just useful for cognitive reasons, but may also help researchers gain insight into different neuropsychiatric disorders which are often gender specific.

Original article by Jacy Meyer – Phoenix, Arizona. Text edited by The Word’s methodology team 

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A number of scientific studies have been done over the years looking at the differences between men and women. For example men typically have better motor and spatial skills while women have better social cognition and verbal memory.

Most people agree that men and women react differently to different situations, but until recently there haven’t been any studies to show that our brains are actually wired differently from those of the opposite gender. Research from Penn Medicine in Pennsylvania has found very interesting differences in the neural wiring of men and women that help explain the different cognitive strengths each gender tends to display.

The team’s study was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in December. Led by Ragini Verma, PhD, an associate professor in the department of Radiology, researchers conducted one of the largest brain connectivity studies, using imaging. They took almost 1000 young people ranging in age from 8-22 years old and used diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) to scan their brains. DTI is water-based imaging technique that can trace and highlight the fiber pathways connecting the different regions of the brain. The researchers analyzed the participants as a single group and as three separate groups split up by age. They found females show greater connectivity in the supratentorial region between the left and right hemispheres. Men however display greater connectivity within each hemisphere. In everyday life terms, this means on average, women have better memory and social cognition skills, which makes then better at multitasking while men are more likely better at learning and performing a single task.

Stark difference: Stark in this context means strong or obvious. It is often used with the words ‘difference’ and ‘contrast’.

“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,” Dr Verma said in a press statement about the study.

Original article by Jacy Meyer – Phoenix, Arizona. Text edited by The Word’s methodology team

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Brains Apart Quiz: Mild

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In the early 1990s a book was published by a relationship counselor called Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus. Spending 121 weeks on the bestseller list in the US, the book basically brought to the world’s attention the reason people have relationship difficulties is because there are psychological differences between the genders.

A number of scientific studies have been done over the years looking at the differences between men and women. Behavioral differences, for example – men typically have better motor and spatial skills while women have better social cognition and verbal memory. Images have been taken of the brains of both genders and women’s brains have a higher percentage of gray matter which is the computational tissue of the brain, while men have a higher percentage of white matter, the connective cables of the brain. I wonder what Hercule Poirot would think about that?

Technical Term: Matter: We use the word matter when talking about the brain to discuss the tissue or specialized cells which make up the brain.

I doubt it’s much of a secret that men and women react differently to any number of situations, but until recently there haven’t been any studies to show that our brains are actually wired differently from those of the opposite gender. Research from Penn Medicine in Pennsylvania has found remarkable differences in the neural wiring of men and women that help explain the different cognitive strengths each gender tends to display.

The team’s study was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in December. Led by Ragini Verma, PhD, an associate professor in the department of Radiology, researchers conducted one of the largest brain connectivity studies, using imaging. They took almost 1000 young people ranging in age from 8-22 years old and used diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) to scan their brains. DTI is a water-based imaging technique that can trace and highlight the fiber pathways connecting the different regions of the brain. The researchers analyzed the participants as a single group and as three separate groups split up by age.

Grammar Point: Cleft sentence: A cleft sentence takes an ordinary sentence and turns the subject into a clause. For example, ‘I had a sandwich for lunch’ as a cleft sentence is ‘What I had for lunch was a sandwich.’ The cleft places more emphasis on what the person had by foregrounding the it as a clause.

What they found is that females display greater connectivity in the supratentorial region between the left and right hemispheres. Men however display greater connectivity within each hemisphere. The supratentorial region is where the largest part of the brain, the cerebrum is located. The opposite was found in the cerebellum, the most important part of the brain for motor control. Here, males have greater inter-hemispheric connectivity and females have greater intra-hemispheric connectivity.

“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,” Dr Verma said in a press statement about the study.

Stark difference: Stark in this context means strong or obvious. It is often used with the words ‘difference’ and ‘contrast’.

The team believes these connections mean men have a more efficient system for coordinated action. This is because the cerebellum and cortex work together to bridge perceptual experiences in the back of the brain and action in the front of the brain. Women’s brains, on the other hand, are connected so they smooth the integration of the analytic and sequential processing modes of the left hemisphere with the spatial, intuitive information processing modes of the right side. In everyday life terms, this means on average, women have enhanced memory and social cognition skills, which makes then better at multitasking while men are more likely better at learning and performing a single task.

Researchers also found that the brain develops gender-wise in important ways as children grow up. There were only a few gender differences in the connectivity in children younger than 13 years, but the differences were more distinct in adolescents aged 14 to 17 years and young adults older than 17. The study’s results aren’t just useful for cognitive reasons, but may also help researchers gain insight into different neuropsychiatric disorders which are often gender specific.

Jacy Meyer – Phoenix, Arizona

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