Men! Useless at perceiving a woman’s true feelings, deaf as a post when a baby is crying and utterly inept at performing more than one task at a time.
Women complain continually about the shortcomings of the opposite sex – but now brain researchers have found possible reasons for the clichéd differences in male and female behavior.
Finally, evidence that men are from Mars and women are from Venus!
The male brain vs female brain are wired in profoundly different ways.
Neurologists used functional magnetic resonance imaging (radio-wave scans that produce detailed images of the inside of the body) to study the brains of almost 1,000 volunteers. The differences between the genders were so profound — and the differences are not just in the kind of television shows or movies they prefer or what they like to talk about when they catch up with members of the same sex!
According to Simon Baron-Cohen, PhD, author of The Essential Difference: Male and Female Brains and the Truth About Autism, men’s neurological wiring tends to make them better at systems, while women are better rigged for empathy.
What is most interesting is that men (and their brains) change hugely over the course of their life. And the results of research conducted as a man gets older – quickly contradicts accepted wisdom. In short – men are complex beings and they DO change.
So, here’s what you need to know to navigate a man’s mind:
- Men are more vulnerable to loneliness. Loneliness hits us all – both mentally and physically. “But older men seem particularly vulnerable”, says Dr. Louann Brizendine, author of a “The Male Brain” and a professor of clinical psychology at UCSF Medical Center. Brizendine believes men don’t reach out to others as much as women do. This isolates them – taking a toll on their brain’s social circuits. Which in turn worsens their loneliness, causing them to isolate themselves more. A vicious cycle.
The good news for guys in stable relationships tend to be healthier, live longer and be more flushed in hormones that decrease anxiety. Having spouse or partner is good for the gonads.
- Men do care – but they focus on finding solutions. While many studies suggest that women are more empathetic than men, Dr. Brizendine stresses this is not entirely true. The male’s empathy system does respond when someone is stressed or expressing a problem – but the “fix-it” region quickly takes over.“This hubby does a Google search of the entire brain to come up with a solution,” said Brizendine. So men appear to be more focused on fixing a problem, rather than showing feelings!
- Men are as just emotional as women. Baby boys are emotionally more reactive and expressive than infant girls. And adult men have slightly stronger emotional reactions, too. But – only before they become aware of their feelings. In a 2008 study published by the Scandinavian Journal of Psychology: by the time an emotion reached consciousness/i.e. showed on a man’s face – he would mask it. Effectively becoming poker faced.
Interesting, and all plausible theories, but some scientists caution that we’re still really just guessing. In the end, the fact that men forever remain a bit of a mystery may be part of what keeps us all captivated.