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.