Intuition is often viewed with some skepticism; however, the study of the brain has revealed that intuition is real. When an individual is processing an intuitive thought or feeling an area in the anterior right side of the brain lights up. Therefore, it is clear to say that (as I mentioned in the chapter on BQD) the Innovators are naturally gifted at tapping into their intuition. Keep in mind that all of the population, unless damaged in this area, can use their intuition; it just uses more energy for the 75% of the population that do not have their BQD here.
I share this information in this chapter because women tend to be better at accessing their intuitive sense. Again, the area is in all of our brains, but women appear to have a better ability to use it, especially the 25% of the population whose home is in the anterior right quadrant. The reason might be connected to the corpus callosum, as well. You see, the function of intuition is really the drawing up of all of the little bits of information on a topic and foreseeing or feeling the right thing to do. You may be pulling information from the posterior left/fact-filing banks, the anterior left/logical processing center, the posterior right/pictures and memories, the amygdala for feelings, the hippocampus for memory, and many other areas. The brain then uses the anterior right, with its gift to visualize future possibilities, to combine this information.
Amazingly, most of this happens so naturally and so quickly that many people fail to realize what just took place. Men may have more difficulty accessing all of these tiny bits of information spread throughout the brain because of their fewer connections. Women, with all of those access roads, can gather the information with more ease, allowing them to process more intuitively than men. Understand, with practice, most can learn how to tap into and listen, if you will, to what their “gut” is telling them: use their intuition.
Sex on the Brain
It is no secret that men tend to be more sexual beings. Some of the information coming from the field of neuroscience is believed to explain one of the reasons behind this. It has to do with the INAH-3 (third interstitial nucleus of the anterior hypothalamus) or simply put…hypothalamus nucleus. In the brain of heterosexual men this area is significantly larger than in women and homosexual men. In fact, on average twice as large. This particular area of the brain is directly related to sexual behavior.
In addition to the hypothalamus nucleus, there is a difference in the way that men’s and women’s brains respond to sexual stimuli. Sexual images fire up a man’s emotions in the amygdala, but not in a woman’s.
Combine these points with the single thought focused gifts of the male brain, and men scientifically have more sexual brains. They not only have more of the brain dedicated to it, but also are gifted at focusing on one thing and that, more often, is sex.
Men have the XY chromosome and women of course have the XX. An interesting feature of the X chromosome is that is carries immune system function. This is most likely the reason, or at least connected to the reason, why men’s mortality is generally not as good as women’s. Women tend to have a more efficient immune system and this can have an effect on their life expectancy. In his book, The Right Mind, Robert Ornstein notes that men, in general, are more susceptible to immune disorders such as allergies, asthma, and hay fever, as well as autoimmune problems.
The birth rate of boys is higher than girls; five percent more boys than girls are born each year. By the age of 25 the numbers are close to equal. After age 25 the numbers reverse and there are more women than men.
Women generally live longer than men by 5-7 years. Interestingly, single women seem to live longer than single men. There are a huge assortment of the reasons that could influence this: women tend to take care of themselves but men tend to rely on women to care for them; men can be more emotionally dependent on women, whereas women tend to be emotionally dependent on their female friends; and I have heard of many more. However, it is quite possible that the double X chromosome is, at the very least, a strong contributing factor.
Brain Size and Brain Health
The size of the brain is also different between the sexes. Men’s brains, in general, are larger and heavier. However, the brain/body ratio of the women is greater.
The brain tissue of the man shrinks faster with age. This tissue loss is especially found in the frontal and temporal lobes which are connected to thinking and feeling. Men have 30% higher related deaths due to electrical storms, seizures. As I mentioned earlier in this unit, men are more likely to suffer from learning disabilities and immune diseases.
The brain tissue of women shrinks slower than that of men; they lose brain tissue later and less of it. The area of the brain where this loss takes place is also different. In the female brain this loss is more focused in the hippocampus and parietal lobes; these areas are connected to memory and visual spatial abilities. Women have the same amount of electrical storms or seizures; however, these do not result in deaths as often as men. This may be due to the fact that women have 15-20% higher blood flow to the brain; this blood carries energy, oxygen, and nutrients that keep the brain healthy.
Men tend to breathe more deeply and more slowly than women; ergo, women’s rate of breathing is faster and shallower than men. Even blood characteristics are different between men and women. Men’s blood is thicker, heavier, clots faster and has more red blood cells than women’s (women have 20% fewer red blood cells). However, women manufacture blood more efficiently and this is really beneficial because of the blood loss that women experience in life during their cycles and childbirth.
All of these above facts could possibly contribute to the fact that statistically women live 5-7 years longer than men.
The dominant hormones, of course, are also different between the sexes. These hormones have an effect on the brain and body. Testosterone is the dominate hormone in the male body. Interestingly, this hormone is 10-15 times higher at puberty than at any other time in their lives. Yes, women do have testosterone in their system as well, but the rate in men is 20 times higher than in females.
Testosterone is the “assertive” hormone. Because it is considerably higher in men than women, men tend to naturally have a more assertive personality. Some studies suggest that women lose their temper half as often as men.  Keep in mind that this is a generalization. If you have a woman with high levels of testosterone in her system, she may be more assertive and show more aggression than her male counterpart. If a man has lower than normal levels of testosterone in his system he may be less aggressive than average.
Men’s bodies are typically denser than women’s. Ninety percent of a man’s body weight is strength, muscle mass. This allows men to lose weight faster. Their metabolic rate is 6-7% higher than women. Men on average are 7-10% longer (taller), and 20% heavier. The presence of this hormone also results in a difference in their voices, with men having lower and louder voices than women.
In women progesterone and estrogen are the dominate hormones. The body weight of a woman is only 50% strength. This means that they have a greater fat to muscle ratio; therefore, they tend to have a lower metabolic rate and a lower body temperature. Their bodies are smaller with a lighter bone structure. The effect of these hormones also makes the voice of a woman 2/3 octave higher than males.
Expression of Emotions
It is interesting that the expression of emotions and body language is also very different between male and female. Smiling, for example; women tend to smile more than men, even as babies. However, the facial expressions of a man are a more honest show of what they are feeling. Women’s facial expressions are not always matched to what they feel. They tend to mask their feelings more.
In a later unit I will talk more about body language, but a little tidbit: men tend to use more gestures when speaking. This is thought to be connected to men only using that one language center on the left side of the brain. They have difficulty employing emotional speech because emotion is more connected to the right side of the brain. Therefore, they express that emotion with their body language.
Men will move their legs more during conversations and prefer a larger personal space. Women tend to be more comfortable with a smaller personal space. Women can also handle close quarters better, while men tend to be less comfortable in confined spaces.
According to Ruben Gur, PhD, a Neurologist at the University of Pennsylvania, “Women are faster and more accurate at identifying emotions.” Studies there have shown that women are better at encoding facial differences and noting changes in vocal intonations. Gur and his associates recently discovered that portions of the brain used to control aggression and anger responses are larger in women. This also leads these experts to feel that this is why women can be better at controlling these types of emotions than men.
In 2007, a study was conducted at the University of Pennsylvania that showed scans of male/female brains in response to stress. Anxiety for men tends to activate the portion of the prefrontal cortex and the “fight or flight” response. However, in the female the main reaction is in the limbic system, encouraging a unite type of response.
It is interesting to watch the body language and interaction between parents and their children. I am not completely sure what portion of the brain this is connected to but I feel they are good statistics for you to know; allowing you to truly provide the best service to the people you help. Also, remember that nothing applies to 100% of the people 100% of the time. Mothers tend to touch their female children more than their male children after 6 months of age. However, mothers touch their male children more than fathers do. Fathers are more comfortable in providing touch to their daughters than to their sons. Daughters are more comfortable with touch to their fathers than sons are. Sons are more comfortable in touch to their mothers than to their fathers.
Societal Views and Expectations
While one side of the personality coin of who we are is the actual make up of our brain, the other side is our nurture. I will deal with this topic in more detail in unit 8 but, I want to mention a few things here. The expectations and views of society play a huge role in perception of gender expectations. This can actually influence the way that the brain of each sex develops. Dr. David Walsh, an expert in the adolescent brain, uses the phrase, “the neurons that fire together wire together.” So, there are certain neural patterns that may develop due to the external influences while a child is growing up.
Let me illustrate: If it is more acceptable and even rewarded for a boy to be rough and tough and explore in the dirt, the brain regions connected to this exploration will flourish. If a little girl is expected to play nice and stay clean and not allowed the same outside investigative time, her neural connections will not experience the same strong wiring and growth. This same thing can happen with any activity. If we hold our children to certain gender standards led by societal expectations we are in fact allowing our children’s minds to literally be molded by it.
In addition to this, no matter how open-minded we feel our society is, there are still clear cut gender expectations. Sadly, most will have a negative effect on self-confidence and our perspectives of ourselves. Following are some interesting statistics.
The expectations begin early in childhood. One study that looked at books for children had interesting results. The books contained twice as many boys as girls, and seven times as many men as women. Storybook sons outnumbered daughters more than two to one. Think about many of the children’s books you have read. How many are about adventure and how many of those adventures have a boy as the main character? What message is that sending to the developing brain of each child?
A look at the words used to describe both of the sexes shows an interesting subliminal message. A study done on sexual terms reported that there are ten times as many terms for women than men. Most often the terms for men had a positive implication but the terms connected to women were mostly negative in nature. Could these contribute to the results that we see when we look at sexual harassment in the workplace? Sexual harassment is a huge problem that impacts more women than men. One survey showed that 31% of female workers were sexually harassed, while only 7% of men were.
Think about the way we interpret the meaning of things with regard to gender. What do you visualize if I were to say, “That man has great legs?” Most people would picture strong, muscular legs. Now, what picture comes to mind when I say, “That woman has great legs?” Most would picture shapely, sexy legs.
Now, think about the advertisements we see. Advertisements and magazines aimed at women tend to deal with interpersonal relationships, understanding oneself, how to succeed on the job, tips for homemaking and parenting, and how to look more attractive. Magazines and advertisements marketed to males emphasize action, performance in areas of sex, sports, or business, how to make and or repair items and gadgets.
You may be thinking, now wait a minute…those are the things that men and women want to read about. True, but remember what I mentioned earlier about the neurons that fire together wire together. Are we inadvertently causing certain neural patterns to develop based on what the external expectations of society are for each gender? Certainly, food for thought!
“There are significant differences (between the male and female brain) and simply ignoring them does a disservice to both sexes.” -David Walsh
Summing it Up
You can see in reading this unit that many of the differences that are obvious in men and women can in one way or another be linked to the brain. By understanding the different ways that the brains of either gender process information you can greatly decrease misunderstandings and improve communication. This is a vital component when you are working with, coaching, or teaching people about the brain personality connection. In some ways it is almost as if men and women speak different languages. Because of the number of connections and the wiring of the brain, they process things differently. Due to the size difference in certain brain areas, what they think about and focus on is different. Appreciating and honoring these differences is so very important for a healthy relationship, whether business or personal, with a significant other, or between parents and children.
Here are some key points that, in my opinion, will have the most impact.
Women need to remember:
- Men are single thought focused. If you want to be heard you need to make sure that you are the single thought that he is focusing on. Beware of merging too many cars on his two lane country road.
- Men have a larger portion of the brain devoted to sexual activity. Resist the urge to take offense if that appears to be what his single thought is.
- Men at times “check out.” When they say they are thinking about nothing, it is most likely an honest answer.
- Men just simply do not have as much brain matter devoted to speech. This will affect the way they communicate. For a man, a grunt is an honest heartfelt acknowledgement.
- Men internally process with the natural design to fix the problem. If you simply want to be heard, state that at the beginning of the conversation so they know what outcome you would like. If your male counterpart is not good at resisting the urge to “fix it” then call a girlfriend.
Men need to keep in mind:
- Women have plenty of connections between the two sides of the brain and, therefore, are gifted at performing multiple tasks at one time. This will lead them to feel that you too can function that way.
- Women DO NOT have as much space devoted to sexual thoughts. Their connection is more relational; communication and attention of the non-sexual kind is the best way to connect.
- Women very rarely “check out.” If one part of their brain is on, it all is on.
- Women have more of their brains devoted to talking. Honor the fact that they will often out-talk you.
- Women rarely want you to fix the problem. Most of the time what they are presenting isn’t really a problem for them, they are just talking. Resist the urge to tell them how to do something; just acknowledge what they are telling you or ask if they want your solution before you give it. Be prepared that they may say no and be okay with that.
Simple adjustments to the way we view and interact with people can make all of the difference between healthy relationships and ones that are wrought with frustration.
This concludes the unit on the male/female brain differences. Hopefully, it has not only been enlightening but, also, has given you greater understanding of the opposite sex.
 Rethinking Puberty: The Development of Sexual Attraction,” Current Directions in Psychological Science 5 1996: pgs 178-183
 2004 study at Emory University
 Gender Uniqueness, Section 1 page 7 Arlene Taylor, PhD
 WebMD April 11, 2005 interviews with Martha Bridge Denckla, PhD, research scientist, Kennedy Krieger Institute; David Geary, PhD, professor of psychological sciences, University of Missouri; and Ruben Gur, PhD, neurologist, University of Pennsylvania.
 Differentiation Of Gender Roles And Frequency In Children’s Literature by Leslie Dawn Helleis.
 Gender Uniqueness, Section 5, page 7, Arlene Taylor, PhD
 2008 Poll by Louis Harris and Associates 782 US