The Male Brain vs. The Female Brain

Men and women are wired differently and on this week’s episode of Brain Games, Jason Silva explores the differences between men and women when there is a meeting of minds. Some scientists theorize that the male and female minds are inherently different not to make life more difficult, but in order to allow genders to complement each other. When life was more primitive and dangerous, men and women may have used their different mental strengths to help one another survive. Today, men and women both share the same tasks whether at home or in the work place. So who has the edge in the battle of the sexes?

Let’s Talk About It

Research shows that when men and women listen to a passage being read aloud from a novel, only the left hemisphere in the male brains was activated. In contrast, women demonstrated activity in both the left and right hemispheres. The female brain is more attuned to words and sounds. Girls tend to learn to speak earlier than boys and this may be why. It could also explain why women excel at learning languages.

Take a Risk

Most men may not have a gift for language, but they do have something that many women do not, a brain wired for risk-taking. In fact, most women’s brains simply don’t reward them for taking big risks. Men, on the other hand, get a burst of endorphins, a chemical when gives a sensation of pleasure, when confronted with a risky or challenging situation. In fact, the bigger the reward the more likely a man is to take a risk.

Are We Lost?

So all of this explains why men never ask for directions right? It sort of does, actually. A man’s brain tends to give him a talent for spatial reasoning. He may navigate based on abstract concepts such as distance and direction. He may not articulate it well, but he is pretty sure where he is going. A woman on the other hand will depend on her language skills, navigating by talking about landmarks that she can see or hear. She notices and articulates if the car has passed the same diner three times. So maybe if they both work together, they will have a much better chance of never getting lost.

We may all be wired differently depending on our gender, but there is no doubt that each of us is an individual. We are a product both of our specific strengths and weaknesses as well as of our background and culture. Our differences may seem incredibly frustrating at times, but they can also be used to our advantage. There is no winning the battle of the sexes, but the better we know one another, the more likely we can take the world on together.

Want to know more about the differences between the male and female mind? Watch Brain Games: Battle of the Sexes Monday May 20 at 9PM et/pt and decide for yourself who has the best brain for which task.


  1. Gary Super
    May 20, 2013, 9:25 pm

    The game about reading directions had a flaw in it. The male actually won. And where was the flaw? The first direction stated to “read all instruction carefully.” It did not state to read all instructions before starting. Therefore as long as the male read each direction carefully before he started it he was following the directions to the letter! I was wondering if the writer of the show would answer my observation. Thank-you.

  2. Virginia Downie
    May 21, 2013, 1:31 am

    I am so disappointed in you! I have been recommending ‘Brain Games” to everyone, and now you’ve blown it. I just watched “Battle of the Sexes” and shame on you for not even mentioning one females greatest strengths–LANGUAGE! Yes it true that male spatial abilities (including the adeptness to move objects in space) are quite well established. We celebrate, nay we immortalize, these male strengths with nearly every sport and past time we have–from football, hockey, and baseball, to race driving, hunting and fishing. WHY would you leave out the true hallmark of female strength–language use along with the ability to identify and connect emotions with words with greater speed? No it’s not just that we talk more–in some circumstances we do (with other females), and in some circumstances we don’t (with males). Anyone who has studied even a little bit about the differences between male and female brains knows that females have a larger highway connecting the left and right parts of the brain (the corpus callosum) so we can think faster and clearer in terms of connecting experience with language. We have larger vocabularies, and we store language in may places in the brain–males in two. This is a highly adaptive, vital ability to survival of the human race. Think child rearing, think about the gathering of fruits/berries etc, think about farming (women were the first) and small game hunting, All tasks women performed, and in groups with babies on hips and in the belly. Language a vital organizing tool.

    I am so disappointed! Now I must tame my enthusiasm. All this while I am on chemotherapy. Have a heart.

    retired teacher

  3. Nick McClanahan
    June 11, 2013, 12:25 am

    I just want to state that I, a male, won all of the challanges

  4. Francesca
    June 19, 2013, 10:27 pm

    I love brain games!
    LOVE IT!

  5. Angelica Jean
    July 6, 2013, 7:29 am

    What are the differences between males and females brain ?? Are brain can effects hehe ..

    signofsecret HAHA

  6. Jessica USHER
    July 7, 2013, 5:59 am

    This comment is in response to Gary Super, if they actually allowed you to read the instructions properly, at the end of the instructions it says to disregard the rest and sign your name. He did everything and still didn’t sign his name because he didn’t read the last paragraph, proving that he ONLY read number 1 – 10, and not the rest. The show was correct.

  7. Amanuel dole
    July 14, 2013, 10:00 am

    I that is real because female brain has more white matter and compacted together but males have more gray matter. that may imply that females are faster than males.

  8. WATCH: Which Sex Has Better Brain? «
    July 22, 2013, 10:38 am

    […] Many people admit they're baffled by the opposite sex. While we might perceive differences between how the sexes behave and think, are there actual differences between the male and female brain? […]

  9. […] Many people admit they’re baffled by the opposite sex. While we might perceive differences between how the sexes behave and think, are there actual differences between the male and female brain? […]

  10. David Jenkins
    Boston Ma.
    April 18, 2015, 10:07 am

    i really like this