Friday, December 11, 2009

Female Brains: Marked for Greatness?

OK, I'll be up front with you and admit it.

As the author of the TSB blog, I am a man, about to make a valiant attempt today to write about and explain ... the unique characteristics and economic advantages of the female brain.

"Have you gone mad man"!

"Do you realize the massive hole your are about to dig for yourself with each subsequent keystroke?"

Crazy as this attempt may sound, or as uniquely unqualified as I may be, recent events dictate this biologically-based uphill battle needs to be fought somewhere.

And today's post is as good a place as any to start.

But, rather than oversimplify this issue in Mars-Venus fashion, we'll explore recent scientific research indicating women are more likely to succeed in a knowledge-based world based on the power of ideas instead of an industrial-based economy focused on production. In other words, whether we like it or not (guys are you listening?), women appear to be a biologically favored in understanding and applying the new language of commerce rapidly emerging in our 21st century Digital Economy. A language focused on the power of collaboration and community rather than one of conflict and confrontation.

We begin with Dr. Simon Baron-Cohen.

Simon is the director of the Autism Research Centre at Cambridge University. He writes, "The female brain is predominantly hard-wired for empathy; the male brain is geared for building systems and things. Men lean towards structure and order; women favor making and maintaining connections". In other words, men are at biological level more left-brained analytical, logical and linear while women are able to transfer data between the right and left hemisphere much faster and enjoy greater access to both sides.

In fact, a team researchers at Indiana University School of Medicine, headed by Dr. Joseph T. Lurito, has proven through the use of MRI's, women have four times as many connections between the two sides of the brain. It creates a “Naturally Ambidextrous Brain,” capable of enhanced perceptual speed, fine motor skills, and a higher degree of verbal fluency. Some doctors feel that this may explain why women often recover from strokes more quickly than men, with less damage to speech ability. It may also account for a woman's ability to multi-task at an extremely high level.

At times this ability has been referred to as the “Executive Brain".

In her book, "The Female Brain", Louann Brizendine M.D., reveals neurological explanations why:

- A woman uses about 20,000 words per day while a man uses about 7,000
- A woman remembers fights that a man insists never happened
- A teen girl is so obsessed with her looks and talking on the phone
- Sex thoughts enter a woman's brain once every couple of days but enter a man's brain about once every minute
- A woman knows what people are feeling, while a man can't spot an emotion unless somebody cries or threatens bodily harm

Dr. Brizendine explains this process actually begins at birth. She states, "Girls are born interested in emotional expression. They understand cues and constantly look for approval. Typical boys enjoy wrestling, mock fighting, and rough play with cars, trucks, swords, guns, tend to tend to threaten others, get into more conflict and are less likely to share toys and take turns. Meanwhile, studies show girls take turns twenty times more often than boys, and their pretend play is usually about interactions in nurturing or caregiving relationships".

So what is science telling us?

Especially us guys?

It would appear the evidence is indicating, where men have the gift of being able to focus on one thing at a time and see where it fits into a linear set of clues, women process the same clues as though they were a big puzzle – how does this piece fit in, and where, so that it reveals a “big picture”.

But, as a self-admitted man, my linear path today is leading me directly to my fellow man Mark for the final word on this subject.

Mark Gungor is one of the most sought-after speakers on marriage and family in North America. His take on relationship issues is refreshingly free of both churchy and psychological lingo. His book, "Laugh Your Way to a Better Marriage®" is about helping couples get it right, get along, have fun, and enjoy a successful relationship. He is also married to Debbie, his high school sweetheart for over 36 years and between the two Gungors and their very different brains, they have two grown children and four grandsons.

"Every brain begins as a female brain. It only becomes male eight weeks after conception, when excess testosterone shrinks the communication center, reduces the hearing cortex, and makes the part of the brain that processes sex twice as large"

P.S. Once upon a time there was a female brain cell, which by mistake happened to end up in a man’s head. She looked around nervously but it was all empty and quiet.

“Hello?” she cried, but got no answer.

“Is there anyone here?” she cried a little louder–still no answer.

Now the female brain cell started to feel alone and scared and yelled at the top of her voice, “HELLO, IS THERE ANYONE HERE?!”

Then she heard a very faint voice from far, far away ...

Very far away ...

“We’re down here.”

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