5/01/2008

Female and Male Brain: Evolutionary Need to Connect

Louann Brizendine, M.D. a pioneering neuron-psychiatrist "has done a great favor to every man who are looking to find a satisfying answer to Freud’s question, ‘What does a woman want?’comments Daniel Goleman, author of 'Social intelligence".

Her book “The Female Brain” show how the unique structure of the female brain determines how women think, what they value, how they communicate, and whom they’ll love. Research shows an astonishing array of structural, chemical, genetic, hormonal and functional brain differences between women and men. They have different brain sensitivities to stress and conflict and use different areas and circuits in brain to solve problems, process language, experience and store the same strong emotion.


  • A woman uses about 20,000 words a day, while a man about 7,000
  • A woman remember fights that a man insists never happened
  • Sexual thoughts enter a woman’s brain once every couple of days, but enter a man’s brain about once every minute. [It is somewhat of a mystery why Buddha, the Awakened one was initially hesistant about admitting his aunt and foster mom, Mahapajapati as leader of nuns in the celibate male monastic Sangha. Perhaps to shelter and evolve male brain conditioned-impulse beyond biological drives to spiritual consciousness. That's has been my sense for some years now!
  • A woman knows what people are feeling, while a man can’t spot an emotion unless somebody cries or threaten’s bodily harm. Could it be the reason why so many relationships breakdown, because women feel men are not emotionally available to support them?
  • A teen girl is obsessed with her looks and talking on phone focused intensely on her emotion and communication; as testosterone takes over male brain, teen boys grow less communicative and more focused on scoring-in games and in backseat of car.
  • Male brains are larger by about 9%, women and men however have the same number of brain cells hich are just packed more densely in female- cinched into a smaller skull
  • Women remember smallest details of their first date and their biggest fights, while their husbands barely remember that these things happened
  • In the brain center for language and hearing women have 11% more neuron than men. Hippocampus – hub of memory and emotion formation and brain circuit for observing emotion is larger in female brain
  • Men, by contrast, have two and a half times the brain space devoted to sex drive and larger circuits for action and aggression. These basic structural differences could explain perceptive differences.
  • Men also have larger processors in the primitive core area of brain – amygdale, which registers fear and triggers aggression. Some men can go zero to fistfight in seconds, why many women will try anything to defuse conflict.
  • Overall the female brain is gifted at quickly assessing the thoughts, beliefs and intentions of others, based on smallest hints.
  • Unlike females, in the male brain most emotions trigger less gut sensation and more rational thought. The typical male brain wants to avoid emotion at all costs.
  • New born girls less than a day old respond more to human faces and cry of other babies than do boys.
  • Female brain has a tremendous aversion to conflict for fear of angering other person and losing relationship. She avoids anger and confrontation the same way a man avoids emotion. In case of extreme discomfort in a relationship, female brain can go into same spectrum as seizure and there are extra processing or chewing on anger happens in pre-frontal and the anterior cingulate cortex.
  • Women have different emotional perceptions, realities, responses and memories than do men and these differences based on brain circuitry and function – are at the heart of many misunderstandings.
  • There may be more mirror neurons in the human female brain than in the male brain (p 118). Mirror neuron are associated with empathy, language ability and understanding intentions of other.
  • Men have about 6½ times more grey matter in the brain related to cognition and intelligence than women, while women have nearly 10 times more white matter related to cognition and intelligence than men. Grey matter processes information locally in the brain, whereas white matter networks and connects information between different centres. This grey/white matter difference is one reason men tend to excel when focusing on one task only, while women excel at integrating and assessing information from wider sources of the brain and can multitask with more ease. (Leadership & Sexes by Michael Gurian). Also see white matter matters.
comment: Brain is not a passive organ. It is a very active learning and adaptive mechanism. There is clearly a great need for empathy and clear communication of feelings between genders and parent-child of complementary sex; perhaps fathers allowing daughters to express anger or encouraging healthy conflicts and mothers teaching sons empathy and healthy expression of feelings and difficult emotions. . The more we are willing to understand each other and appreciate our differences the better chances we have at creating enduring and satisfying relationships.