Who are Smarter -- Men or Women?
November 27, 2008
People like to think that men’s brains and women’s brains are fundamentally the same. But research indicates that men and women do in fact have different structures and wiring in the brain, and men and women may also use their brains differently.
Men do score better at tasks that involve orienting objects in space, while women do better at language tests.
Scientists have known for a while now that men and women have slightly different brains, but for many years they thought the changes were limited to the hypothalamus -- the part of your brain that controls sex drive and food intake.
In 2001, researchers found that certain parts of the brain were differently sized in males and females. The study found that parts of the frontal lobe, responsible for problem-solving and decision-making, and the limbic cortex, responsible for regulating emotions, were larger in women. In men, the parietal cortex, which is involved in space perception, and the amygdala, which regulates sexual and social behavior, were larger.
Men also have approximately 6.5 times more gray matter in the brain than women, and women have about 10 times more white matter than men do. This difference may account for differences in how men and women think -- gray matter is full of active neurons, while white matter consists more of connections between the neurons.
A woman's brain is a bit more complicated in setup, but those connections may allow a woman's brain to work faster than a man's.
However, average IQ scores are the same for both men and women.