Breaking down the male-female brain barrier

Breaking down the male-female brain barrier

If men are from Mars and women are from Venus, then something other than their physical brain structure must have made them that way.

Traditionally, men are thought to be better at math and science while women are considered to be more adept at empathetic or emotional thinking.

Previous studies suggested that was because men and women’s brains were structured differently. But a new study from the Proceedings of the Royal Academy of Sciences suggest that human brains can’t be classified as male or female, and that many features are shared between both men and women.

Researchers analyzed magnetic resonance imaging scans of the brains of more than 1,400 people between the ages of 13 and 85. They examined regions of gray and white matter in the brain. White matter is the material in the brain that provides connections between neurons. Neurons, cells that transmit information in the form of tiny bursts of electricity, are the gray matter. The researchers also looked at brain scans that used diffusion tensor imaging, which reveals even the smallest of structures.

Male and female brains, as it turns out, differ very little from each other. The researchers created a spectrum that ranged from a totally female brain to a totally male brain. They found that between 23 and 53 percent of the people scanned shared a mix of regions. Only zero to 8 percent of the brains showed either all male or all female structures.

The researchers also compared their information with previously published data about male and female behavior. The previous study also showed that its participants’ interests varied widely between activities that are thought to be male, such as playing video games, or female, such as watching talk shows.

It sounds like now we can say men and women may just be from the same planet.

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