If you haven’t heard yet, men and women think differently.
On a physiological level, male and female brains process information differently based on connectivity strengths.
Out of a family of four, I am the only one who is not a mechanical engineer. Instead, I work in marketing. You can imagine our dinner table conversation topics are quite interesting. What’s particularly interesting, however, is the difference in how my mother and I handle a situation and how my father and brother handle the same situation. As females, we typically ask sensorial and emotive questions whereas the males ask task and detail-related questions to solve the problem at hand.
To gain a better understanding of this phenomenon, I started researching in depth, the biological differences in the way that men and women think and process information.
Think About It
First, think back to any interaction you’ve had with the opposite sex. Have you ever heard or interpreted something in a completely contrary way than your counterpart? Male and female brains process information differently at a physiological level that I’ll explain in further detail below.
To crush an on-going debate, there is no correlation between size and intelligence, but rather, how information travels through an individual’s brain. Men typically have larger brains than females – just like they typically have bigger hands, bigger arms, bigger legs, etc.
With stronger connections between the front and back of the brain, men are better at perception creation and coordinated actions. They also utilize approximately 7-times more grey matter than females. Grey matter is responsible for information and action processing.
In contrast, women’s brains have much stronger inter-hemispheric connectivity between the left side of the brain (logical reasoning) and the right side of the brain (intuitive thinking) making it easier for them to tie logic to emotion. Additionally, women utilize a higher percentage of their brain’s white matter which connects grey matter information and actions to processing centers in the brain.
Simply put, when given a task, the neurons in the grey matter process that task and tell the individual to “get started” right away. White matter compliments grey matter because of its connectivity bundles which connect various areas of grey matter to each other and other areas of the brain. Connections between white matter and grey matter allows for easier transition between tasks, inter-connectivity of tasks, and more information processing.
Why It Matters
Because men and women utilize separate areas of their brain at various capacities, they’re naturally better at different tasks as well. With less blood flow between the two hemispheres of a male brain, and utilizing more grey matter, this is why men so often get “tunnel-vision” when faced with a project. Men can also absorb and logically process information faster than women. With such grey matter activity, men can stay exceptionally focused on a task at hand until it is finished.
Women on the other hand, have the neural connectivity to make quick transitions while paying attention to sensory cues, emotion, and logic. Their inter-hemispheric connections make them better at multi-tasking and social skills. They use intuition and emotion to assess a situation and proceed in a logical fashion.
“Are You Even Listening?”
This classic question can be chalked-up to structural differences. Men usually have one verbal center in their left hemisphere where women have a verbal center in both their left and right hemispheres. This means a couple of things:
- Women use more words to express themselves
- Men hear things as they’re said (that logical side at work!)
- Men have less connectivity between their words and their memories/feelings
- Women are better at and have more interest in connecting what is said to what is felt (intuition kicks in here!)
- Women tend to remember all the details
Understanding how each gender processes information and draws connections can be crucial to successful communication.
Bringing it All Together
Neither men nor women are superior. Rather, you need both to work effectively. Men and Women brains are actually quite complementary and work best when working together.
So yes, I think different – and I’m proud of that. Having conversations with the males in my life who are engineers, family members, coworkers, friends, etc. bring about new viewpoints I’d never considered before. Understanding these differences elicits patience – patience to wait for them to finish the task at hand, patience to think through a problem logically rather than instinctively, patience that there are two intelligent people working toward the optimal solution.
While the never-ending debate over superiority continues, I encourage people like you and I to block out gender stereotypes, to focus on the positive differences, and use the complimentary attributes that each gender brings to the table to work toward even better, more effective solutions.