September 13, 2017

The cognitive differences between men and women

From Stanford Medicine Two minds,  The cognitive differences between men and women

Over the past 15 years or so, there’s been a sea change as new technologies have generated a growing pile of evidence that there are inherent differences in how men’s and women’s brains are wired and how they work.....Not how well they work

There was too much data pointing to the biological basis of sex-based cognitive differences to ignore.  For one thing, the animal-research findings resonated with sex-based differences ascribed to people. These findings continue to accrue. In a study of 34 rhesus monkeys, for example, males strongly preferred toys with wheels over plush toys, whereas females found plush toys likable......

Women excel in several measures of verbal ability — pretty much all of them, except for verbal analogies. Women’s reading comprehension and writing ability consistently exceed that of men, on average. They out­perform men in tests of fine-motor coordination and perceptual speed. They’re more adept at retrieving information from long-term memory.

Men, on average, can more easily juggle items in working memory. They have superior visuospatial skills: They’re better at visualizing what happens when a complicated two- or three-dimensional shape is rotated in space, at correctly determining angles from the horizontal, at tracking moving objects and at aiming projectiles.

Navigation studies in both humans and rats show that females of both species tend to rely on landmarks, while males more typically rely on “dead reckoning”: calculating one’s position by estimating the direction and distance traveled rather than using landmarks. Many of these cognitive differences appear quite early in life.

Why our brains differ

1. The sex-steroid hormones. In female mammals, ...estrogens, along with ... progesterone; and in males, testosterone and ...androgens. Importantly, males developing normally in utero get hit with a big mid-gestation surge of testosterone...
2. The sex chromosomes, which form one of the 23 pairs of human chromosomes in each cell. Generally, females have two X chromosomes in their pair, while males have one X and one Y chromosome.  Every cell in a man’s body (including his brain) has a slightly different set of functioning ​sex-​chromosome genes from those operating in a woman’s.
Posted by Jill Fallon at September 13, 2017 8:45 AM | Permalink