Are men and women different? Scholars have been trying to tackle the question for centuries now. The significant differences in brains of men and women are not just a hot topic for stand-up comedy. There's no denying the physiological differences that are bestowed upon us by nature.
But could human biology be influencing the human brain? Could the phrases like 'men will be men,' 'don't be such a girl,' or 'man up' be rooted in some sort of reality? Do evident brain differences exist between the sexes? Let's look at what's known as of yet.
The human brain is one of the most complex organs and various studies are being conducted on the differences between the brains of men and that of women. Apparent gender differences have been found in studies related to perception, cognition, memory, and neural functions. These differences do not make either sex superior or inferior to the other. But they may well be attributed to various genetic, hormonal, and environmental factors.
Both sexes do not differ in intelligence, but in the way, they operate. In processes like encoding memories, sensing emotions, facial recognition, problem-solving, and decision making, it appears, there's a significant difference in the parts of the brain men and women use.
Even though men and women perform equally well in certain intelligence and aptitude tests, their brains seem to go about it differently. Learning processes, language development, and progression of neurologically-based diseases might all be affected by sex differences in the brains of men and women.
In studying brain structure and function, these differences need to be considered. For neurological diseases, this will raise the possibility of sex-specific treatments. Can the differences between men and women be more than just anatomical? Do these differences extend all the way to our brains? It's a controversial question with no easy and simple answers. Some sex-specific patterns are indeed found in the largest brain-imaging study of its kind. These new findings pave the way for new questions to arise about how brain differences between the sexes may influence intelligence and behavior.
Here are some of the scientific findings from various studies and researches that tell us exactly what kind of differences are found in male and female brains -
Despite all the differences, it turns out, men and women are more alike than they are different. Similar are the results in terms of personality tests. There’s certainly more overlap between men and women than there are differences, even in the dimensions where the differences are the most pronounced.
If we look at personality differences between prepubescent boys and girls, they are not very large. The differences become strikingly clear when puberty kicks in. We find men to be over-represented in certain traits like alcoholism, drug abuse, antisocial personality, for example, and women are over-represented in depression and anxiety primarily which seems to be highly associated with trait neuroticism. Men lag behind women by 11 years, according to a new British study, when it comes to maturing. According to the study, the average man reaches his full emotional maturity until after the age of 43, while women mature by the age of 32.
Women’s brains were 3.8 years younger when looking at brains of both sexes of the same chronological age, and men’s brains were 2.4 years older on average. The stage for brain aging later in life is likely set by the sex differences during brain development. The female brain might be more resilient to aging-related changes because of the differences in cerebral blood flow, hormones, and gene expression. All these significant differences in brains of men and women, yet we cannot overlook the immense amount of similarities between the two.
It is no shocker to most that the female maturity vs male maturity age varies. Again, the perception is closely linked to the early onset of puberty in females.
According to a study published in Cerebral Cortex, the female brain prunes itself faster compared to the male brain, making it better at establishing connections. That is the scientific explanation behind why men take longer to 'grow up' and 'act their age' than women do. Here’s how you can identify a man-child.
So this implies that women are ahead of the curve when it comes to cognitive maturity. In the reorganization process, the female brains are further along and work more efficiently than a male's for a few years. The greatest indicator of maturity though is the sense of responsibility and accountability for your actions you learn to carry with you. Here are signs of emotional maturity men can measure themselves against.
Though there are more similarities, it wouldn't be wise to ignore the significant differences in brains of men and women. But the post has been more informative than reflective. There’s no way to measure how much of this difference is a result of socio-cultural influence over the centuries, and the human brain evolving around gender biases.
So, if you are a young man, you can very well be more mature than an old woman. And an adult woman might not always belong to the mature lot. Eventually, humans are different and diverse. And though figures tell us what might be more probable for a man or a woman to be, they can never dictate how they ought to be.
You can always choose to be mature, or choose not to mature ever (like Peter Pan did). If you find yourself being guided by hormones, biology ruling your brain, and you consciously want to be free - choose the path of yoga and meditation. It helps!