Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Men and Women, different minds

Psychology Today runs a readable article on differences between the sexes. Because of certain scientific discoveries, it is now safe to claim that there are natural differences between men and women. These differences may also explain, for example, why women live longer than men, although they breakdown more. They may also explain why the Poet has Lucetta saying, in The Two Gentlemen of Verona, "I have no other but a woman’s reason: I think him so because I think him so." Here are a few lines, taken out of context, but the whole is worth a look:

"The white matter in women’s brains is concentrated in the corpus callosum, which links the brain’s hemispheres, and enables the right side of the brain to pitch in on language tasks. The more difficult the verbal task, the more global the neural participation required--a response that’s stronger in females.

Women have another heady advantage--faster blood flow to the brain, which offsets the cognitive effects of aging. Men lose more brain tissue with age, especially in the left frontal cortex, the part of the brain that thinks about consequences and provides self-control."

"The difference between the sexes may boil down to this: dividing the tasks of processing experience. Male and female minds are innately drawn to different aspects of the world around them. And there’s new evidence that testosterone may be calling some surprising shots.

Women’s perceptual skills are oriented to quick--call it intuitive--people reading. Females are gifted at detecting the feelings and thoughts of others, inferring intentions, absorbing contextual clues and responding in emotionally appropriate ways. They empathize. Tuned to others, they more readily see alternate sides of an argument. Such empathy fosters communication and primes females for attachment.

Women, in other words, seem to be hard-wired for a top-down, big-picture take. Men might be programmed to look at things from the bottom up (no surprise there).

Men focus first on minute detail, and operate most easily with a certain detachment. They construct rules-based analyses of the natural world, inanimate objects and events. In the coinage of Cambridge University psychologist Simon Baron-Cohen, Ph.D., they systemize."

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