While somewhat controversial, Psychology Today, published a study seemingly indicating there may exist distinguishers between the sexes. The particular study in review highlights significant variances not only in physiology but in cognitive functioning as well. It’s critical to note while the research seems to indicate variances across the sexes on average, individuals vary from one to another, and it is to be suspected some may not fit the particular median of any specific gender.
In consideration of the differences in cognitive functioning and processing, it is reported males typically utilize higher percentages of grey matter, whereas females typically utilize higher percentages of white matter.
How would this potential gender difference relate to daily activity? Grey matter areas of the brain are clearly defined, action-processing, and pertain to centralized information gathering. Higher utilization of grey matter amongst an individual may translate into an almost observable tunnel vision. This individual would appear to be highly focused, displaying little to no emotion, and/or almost a complete disregard for emotion, with intent upon the task at hand.
Conversely, it is considered, white matter coordinates and connects all the varying components of the brain together, connecting both grey matter, and other processing components. An individual utilizing higher percentages of white matter potentially could translate into more efficient multitasking. Additionally, research provides evidence males typically utilize higher percentages of grey matter, whereas females utilize higher percentages of white matter. This could lend evidence to support the oversimplified belief in females excelling at multitasking, whereas males being more suited for task-focused related projects. Again it should be emphasized the proposed variations between the sexes concluded, the variances being an average, and one would expect variances from one individual to another.
Reportedly, amongst the genders, biochemistry differences are also considered to be quite stark, in addition to how neurochemicals are processed in both female and male brains. It’s considered not only do chemical percentages vary, these chemicals are processed differently as well, in addition to gender-specific neural pathways. One illustration of this would be testosterone, a sex, an aggression chemical. Another example is that of estrogen, oxytocin, and serotonin. Estrogen is considered to be associated with female growth and reproduction, whereas oxytocin contributes to relationship bonding. Serotonin containing many relevant implications, one of these contributing to the ability of an individual to sit still.
In relation to how these variances could be impactful, if one were to formulate an individual including high levels of testosterone, low levels of oxytocin, and moderate levels of serotonin it would produce an individual exhibiting higher levels of aggression, less inclined to bond quickly to relationships, in addition to an inability to sit idle for long periods. The importance of understanding how these gender variances may occur may be relevant as one seeks to address issues relating to work, treatment of behavioral disorders, or stress management.
In addition to the processing and chemical differences, the structure of the brain is considered to also vary between the sexes to include both mass and/or size.
The process to which this would occur begins prior to birth. Prior to birth gender differences in the brain begin occurring, as hemispheric divisions of labor develop. These differences are multifaceted, however, some examples include males establishing verbal areas of the brain more dominant in the left, whereas females developing verbal areas more bilaterally. This variance in the distribution of verbal areas across the brain could potentially contribute to differences in communication. For example, given an individual would potentially have verbal areas more bilaterally, one might expect a higher utilization of more words when explaining an incidence, a feeling, or in the description of a particular object. A variance such as this could prove advantageous to an individual who prefers a great level of specificity in communication.
In addition to the hemispheric division of labor, it’s considered the hippocampus, our human memory center tends to be larger in females, as well as a greater density of neural connections in this particular area. The impact of this difference could contribute to females retaining a higher sensorial and emotive process. In addition to the having verbal areas more bilaterally, women are considered to typically retain and sense more information the environment is providing throughout the day. This also may contribute to a greater level of specificity in communication.
As the aforementioned research seems to indicate females typically utilize higher percentages of white matter, this variance also could also contribute to higher blood flow throughout the brain, in addition to higher blood flow in the cingulate gyrus. Higher blood flow in the cingulate gyrus, a concentration area, contributes to an individual revisiting emotional memories more frequently.
The impact of higher blood flow in the cingulate gyrus, contrast with research on males in that males will briefly reflect upon an emotive memory, provide focused analyzation of the memory, then continue with forwarding momentum onto the next task. During this process of emotive analyzation, males may also partake in an activity completely unrelated to the analyzation process, such as doing something active. This research could lend insight as to the typical stereotype of males avoiding discussion of feelings.
The above-outlined differences provide a brief summary of the differences referenced between males and females. The subject of potential variances between the sexes continues to remain highly controversial. While many might object to the proposal of presenting variances between the sexes as fact, objective observation should be of priority in determining if neglecting this information could potentially contain any negative impact on society. It is important to consider when in the review of scientific research, the conclusion of facts is either true or untrue. It is then for society to propose a determination on how to best build relevant policy with respect to the facts. For scientific advancement to occur one must be willing to understand any given hypothesis may be proven wrong if not supported by the facts of scientific discovery.