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    • TL; Don't Want to Read? Go directly to video link below.

      Some people think it is “new News” that women’s and men’s brains are different. This was known way back in late 19th century. Granted – we are getting better at the details. In the 1990’s it was known (though MRI’s) that when men problem-solve, there is more activity on one side of the brain, and less activity between the 2 hemisphere’s of the brain…less traversing through the corpus collosum from right to left hemisphere, and vice versa. While women are problem solving, there is more activity on both sides of the brain, more signals are being sent from right to left hemisphere and vice versa. That was interpreted as men doing more “compartmentalizing” to solve problems, while women using diverse areas on both sides of the brain. Okay.

      This is still believed to true. Knowledge refined today shows are that while men “compartmentalize” predominately on one side of the brain to problem-solve, brain activity traverses primarily from front to back and back to front. While women problem-solve, the activity will go back and forth from right to left hemispheres, and left to right. They more often call upon the functions of different of areas on both sides the brain.

      Simply put, women generally call upon their right AND left hemispheres of their brain to problem-solve, men more often will call on one side – usually the left hemisphere. Combine this with varying physical abilities as well as varying backgrounds and education, and different people will often come up with different solutions to a problem.

      I see this as a good thing. Most great leaders (versus mediocre to bad ones) know that different ways of thinking create varying solutions. If people work can together, this can often lead to a better or great solution – versus a merely passable one.

      To see the benefits of having people contribute as much as they can, look at Steven Hawking. No one would argue that Mr. Hawking is physically handicapped – and I’ve heard no one argue that he has a better brain than most. He is considered a genius. If we allowed his physical limitations or how he looks to keep us from listening to him, society would end up losing out more than that which he has to offer within the span his lifetime. He will die. We all will. Society keeps going.

      Societies that repress half or more of their population for superficial reasons, (gender, race, other handicaps, etc) are holding themselves back – as they have obviously and statistically reduced the brain power going into making their lives better.

      Of course, there are always those who will try to hold others back because their think their own egos and/or lives are more important than everyone else’s. They consider themselves more important than the society that has for their entire lives cradled and sheathed them, whether or not they acknowledge those benefits.

      Secure people whose egos are not fragile; don’t assume they are better than others. They know that while they can win a foot race with someone who is a quadriplegic, Steven Hawking would make mince-meat of them in a race of brains.

      Many of our differences aren’t so obvious. Yet if one gender group thinks they can exist without the other, they are wrong – that is if they care about a continuing human race. Alternately, each individual can contribute something, whether or not they choose to have children. Individuals of both genders can exist without the other. Many do that, already.

      We are either open to what individual people show us they have to offer, or strictly bound within our own personal limitations of how we see others. People can choose whether they are handicapped by their own blinders - or enlightened by being receptive to those who contribute in different ways than our own. The choices we make everyday make us who we are. If we are lucky, society is not bound by our personal weaknesses.

      Our brains are anything but simple. Society is complex. Anyone trying to boil everyone down to 2 types is engaging in wishful thinking, whatever their reasons.

      Having said that, here is a great video that is not only informative, but also shows how recent research is now showing how brains in rats actively switch from a "feminine" to "masculine" state, depending on situation-to-situation environmental factors.

      Brain dendrite spine density (shown by red arrows in the screen shot below), show male versus female rats below in a relaxed state, versus while under stress. Those spine nodules enable the transmission of electrical signals within the brain.

      This short and yet great video can be viewed here;

    • Tauron

      I respectfully disagree.

      The TED speaker herself admits that the link between rat dendrite density and human gender differences is weak at best, and then proceeds to convolute the two even more and draw conclusions regarding gender roles and implying a scientific basis for gender neutrality. Jumping conclusions is the hallmark of bad science.

      I can point to at least a hundred scientific studies, in humans, pointing out the differences in male and female behavior, highly conserved throughout life, but I don't need to. If you ever had a daughter and a son you can see the separate genders unfolding right in front of you.

    • I am confused as to the point in the original post, is it about moving past gender and physical attributes to judge the output on a seperate level? The bold "AND" has a sense of bias to me which distracts from the "people can work together" after it.
      Interesting topic however.

    • I hate to complicate matters even further, but I wonder how researchers on "sex differences and the brain" are defining and determining the sex of their subjects (or, more appropriately, their gender). Although many of us think of gender as being a simple bipolar construct (i.e., "there are boys and there are girls"), gender can be defined/measured in many different ways (e.g., external genitalia, hormones, chromosomes, sex-roles, etc.). Certainly not every person who identifies as male (or might be so identified by others) necessarily has functional male genitalia, and typical male hormones, and male chromosomes (i.e., XY), and exclusively male sex-roles, and it is unlikley that research subjects are assessed along all these lines before they are assigned to the male or female subject pool. To "simplify" thinking about this, contemplate the fact that even on what many might consider the most basic determinant of gender, the chromosomal level, as far as researchers have been able to determine, one in every 1,666 births produces an individual that does not have either XX or XY chromosomes (and likely this number is an under-representation of the true population, as "intersex" individuals are often only identified when their condition causes them to seek medical attention). So who exactly ARE the "men" and "women" whose brains "are different", and is it really their gender that accounts for any differences?

    • Instead of speaking about dendrite density, the speaker labels it "female" or "male" brain. It is not the same thing because the link between the two is very weak and the speaker admits to that fact around the middle of the talk. Hence, labeling a gender misrepresents what really is just an observation between dendrite density and stress in rats, nothing more.

      Its like saying: Irish people when exposed to the sun they get a tan and start looking more like Italians. Are they speaking Italian? Not really...

      Instead of stopping there, the speaker convolutes the whole story as a gender fluidity argument, which is baseless given the data she herself presented. I would toss the entire talk in the trash bin.

    • It is about both moving past gender differences, and also recognizing the small role these differences really play in behaviors. There has been a lot of discussion in the last few years about how women are biologically bound to behave the way they do. Then research about quantifiable differences in men and women is used in what appears to be a skewed way - in order to reinforce these conclusions. The differences, when found, are barely above negligible.

      The fact that men problem-solve more on one side of their brain (signals moving from front to back, and vice versa) - and that women cross over the corpus callosum to use creative areas also - isn't a conclusion about what is better or worse. It is an acknowledgement that this does occur, though some research shows this as simply using different processes in the brain to reach identical conclusions. I personally believe that different ways of thinking are a benefit to society.

      The upper case "and" is an acknowledgement that this is often missed - I've seen no trends speaking of men being bound to all of their behaviors by their biology. If so, would you share that?

      There are some myths that research have proven true, though very few - such as more aggression in men, and women performing less well than men on spatial tests.

      So while I give a nod to differences in the brain that have been verified, and I even appreciate those variances - my goal is to separate fact from fiction on a topic that for some reason been gaining in popularity.

      As a former educator - I have always found the topic interesting, and hope others do as well.

    • All great points, and brought up by some of the research that I've read. Because the research is relatively new on this topic, from what I've read the it uses adults of each gender - and to your great points - not defined to the levels that you are specifying.

      I'm sure with more research, these variables will be better identified.

    • Yes. I believe the speaker is referring to some of the trends toward over using, and over generalizing results. As I recall, she makes it a point to summarize that though there are some differences seen, in human and other mammal research - differences based on gender are still very small as compared to those ways in which genders are alike.

      I do think her point about there being changes in different parts on the brain based on environmental factors is also a good one.

      Here is the entire article in which that video was posted - though I've not reviewed all the material and videos within in.

    • "The upper case "and" is an acknowledgement that this is often missed -
      I've seen no trends speaking of men being bound to all of their
      behaviors by their biology. If so, would you share that?"

      My post was to understand the point not to present data to you on something I did not bring up.
      Perception can skew our view and I was seeking clarity, nothing more.

    • I thought I'd covered the point of the OP in my first sentence above. "It is about both moving past gender differences, and also recognizing the small role these differences really play in behaviors..."

    • There is a lot more data regarding what you've termed brain "fluidity." I think the following study references the brain more as a jigsaw.

      I have no doubt our brains react in varying ways to the environment, and think the problems arise with trying to label those changes as "feminine," or "masculine," or a "male brain" versus a "female brain." As more than one study cites and the above one in particular, of all of those whose brains were studied, only 2 % were completely "male" or "female." 98% were both male and female combined - to varying degrees.We are after all, individuals.

    • Yes - the speaker in the Ted video link that I posted, also brings up your point about problems with labeling "male" versus "female" brains, (and how and why this is mentioned) and shows a simple graphic showing the jigsaw puzzle as a more proper approach. Thank you for highlighting that, and providing another resource.

    You've been invited!