UK & World News

  • 3 December 2013, 13:23

Brains Of Men And Women 'Wired Differently'

Men and women really are different when it comes to brain power, according to a new study.

On average, men are more likely to be better at learning and performing a single task such as map reading because they have more connections within each hemisphere of the brain, scientists at the University of Pennsylvania found.

In women, the two halves of the brain are more interlinked, meaning they are more likely to have a better memory and social cognition skills.

They are likely to be better "mind readers" and be more sensitive to subtle psychological hints than men, and be able to multi-task and process social information more successfully.

While brains of men contain more nerve fibres, those of women have a greater proportion of "grey matter", consisting of the cell bodies of neurons.

The different patterns in brain structure are likely to explain differences in behaviour and skills seen in men and women, according to study leader Dr Ragini Verma.

"These maps show us a stark difference ... in the architecture of the human brain that helps provide a potential neural basis as to why men excel at certain tasks and women at others," she said.

Study author Ruben Gur added: "It's quite striking how complementary the brains of women and men really are.

"Detailed maps of the brain will not only help us better understand the differences between how men and women think, (they will) also give us more insight into the roots of neurological disorders, which are often sex related."

The findings, which are published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, are from a brain scan study of almost 1,000 children and young people aged between eight and 22.

Behavioural tests revealed "pronounced sex differences" in the participants, the researchers said.

They found few differences between the sexes in children younger than 13 but said these became more pronounced in adolescents and young adults.

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