Understanding the Brain May Lead to a Satisfying Relationship

Awhile back, the book Men are from Mars Women are from Venus shed interesting light on differences in the way men and women’s brains think. Since then, more research is confirming just how awesome and amazingly different male and female brains are wired.

Understanding Gender Differences

Studying how men and women think, from a neurological perspective, gives medical researchers important insights. It can enlighten the rest of us, too, in the areas of parenting, educating, having sex and supporting our kids and each other.

Different is Good

When people act differently than we do, it’s human nature sometimes to think their way is “bad” or “wrong.” (And they think the same thing about us.) The same holds true when men try to understand women and vice versa. We’re often mystified by the opposite sex.

But researchers are discovering it’s good and normal that men and women’s brain activity is different. In fact, the differences often complement each other.

Some interesting differences

  • Male brains use nearly seven times more gray matter; female brains use nearly ten times more white matter. This difference may be why women are multi-taskers, and men do well in task-focused projects. It may also explain why women have dominant language skills over men.
  • Parts of the frontal lobe, responsible for problem-solving and decision-making, and the limbic cortex, responsible for regulating emotions, are larger in females. In males, the parietal cortex, which is involved in space perception, and the amygdala, which regulates sexual and social behavior, are larger.
  • Male and female brains process the same neurochemicals – serotonin, testosterone, estrogen, and oxytocin – but to different degrees and through gender-specific body-brain connections. Men can be more physically impulsive and aggressive and process less of the bonding chemical oxytocin than women.
  • Females often have a larger hippocampus, the human memory center.
  • Females tend to input or absorb more sensory information and emotional information than males do.
  • Females typically have verbal centers on both sides of the brain, while males verbal centers are only in the left hemisphere. This is a significant difference, and might explain why women often use more words when discussing or describing an incidence, story, person, object, feeling or place.
  • The female brain will often ruminate on and revisit emotional memories. Men, in general, are different. After reflecting briefly on an emotional memory, men analyze it somewhat then move onto the next task. Males may also change course and do something active and unrelated to their feelings (if they analyze their feelings at all).

Scientists have discovered more than 100 gender differences. They continue to explore male and female structural, chemical, and functional differences of the brain that make men, men and women, women.

Appreciating the differences in how our brains are wired may be the key to longer, happier, and more satisfying relationships and health.

Meet the Author

Paula Carlton, NP is a Nurse Practitioner at Aurora Health Center in West Bend, WI.

Read more posts from this author

The information presented in this site is intended for general information and educational purposes. It is not intended to replace the advice of your own physician. Contact your physician if you believe you have a health problem.

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