Why do men and women think differently? Brain differences between genders

Why do men and women think differently? Brain differences between genders

Of course, there is no simple answer to this question.


  • 1 Men vs women
  • 2 Differences in information processing
  • 3 Chemical differences between the brain of men and women
  • 4 Structural differences between the male and female brain
  • 5 Blood flow
  • 6 Neural Activity

Men vs women

But in recent years research has found the presence of some key differences which could explain why we expect men and women to think and behave in a characteristic and different way between genders.

Scientists generally study five main areas in male and female brains to find the supposed differences: processing, chemistry, structure, blood flow and neuronal activity.

Apparently, differences between male and female brains in these areas are present for everyone, although scientists have also discovered exceptions.

The differences indicated below are simply generalizations in the typical functioning of the brain, and it is important to remember that they all have advantages and disadvantages.

Differences in information processing

Male brains use almost seven times more gray matter for their activity, while female brains use almost ten times more white matter. What does this mean?

The gray matter or gray matter, is a type of neuronal tissue that can be found in the brain and in the spinal cord. It consists mainly of neuronal bodies, not myelinated axons, so it cannot transmit nerve impulses quickly. This fact causes the gray substance to be related to information processing and reasoning, but not to its transmission. This can translate into a kind of tunnel vision in men when they are doing something. Once they are deeply engaged in one task, they cannot easily attend to other tasks or demonstrate much sensitivity towards other people or their environment.

The white substance or white matter It is mainly composed of axonal extensions with myelin. Its function is basically to transport nervous information. This is why women tend to make a faster transition between tasks than men.

The difference in gray-white matter can explain why women are very good at multitasking, while men excel in projects focused on unique tasks.

Chemical differences between the brain of men and women

Male and female brains process the same neurochemicals, but to varying degrees and through specific brain connections according to each gender. Some of the neurochemical substances that we all have but to a different extent are the serotonin, testosterone, estrogen and oxytocin.

In part, due to differences in the processing of these chemicals, males tend to be less likely to sit still or sit for a while compared to females, and also tend to be more physically impulsive and aggressive (testosterone). In addition, males process oxytocin to a lesser extent, a chemical that helps foster relationships and union between people.

In general, one of the main differences in brain chemistry is that men need different strategies to release tension than women.

Structural differences between the male and female brain

Apparently, women usually have a hippocampus larger, which is the center of human memory. They also have a higher density of nerve connections in the hippocampus. As a result, girls and women tend to absorb more sensory and emotional information than men. By "sensory" we mean information to and from the five senses. Women tend to perceive what is going on around them much better than men, and retain that sensory information longer than they do.

In addition, before birth, brains develop brain hemispheres differently according to sex. The left hemisphere of the right brain and are not configured in exactly the same way. For example, women tend to have verbal centers on both sides of the brain, while men tend to have verbal centers only in the left hemisphere. This is a significant difference. For this reason girls tend to use more words when speaking or describing a story, person, object, feeling or place. Men not only have fewer verbal centers in general, but they also often have less connectivity between their word centers and their memories or feelings. When it comes to discussing feelings and emotions, girls tend to have an advantage, in addition to having more interest in talking about these things.

Blood flow

The female brain, due to a greater degree of blood flow in a concentration of a part of the brain called the gingival gyrus, tends to ruminate and return to emotional memories more than the male brain.

Males, in general, are designed somewhat differently. Males tend, after reflecting more briefly on an emotional memory, to analyze it a bit, and then move on to the next task. During this process, they can also choose to change course and do something active and unrelated to feelings instead of analyzing their feelings in depth.

Neural activity

A recent study showed that in male brains there are stronger connections between the front and the back of the brain, which suggests that they are better able to connect what they see with what they do (which is what you need to do if you are a hunter: you see something, and you must respond correctly).

While on the contrary, women have more connections between the right hemisphere and the left brain. The fact that they can connect the different regions of both sides of the brain makes them better to perform several tasks at the same time, in addition to attending more effectively to emotions.