Her Brain, His Brain

The differences between his brain and her brain have been the topic of books, jokes, songs, and scientific research. Scientist have been researching these differences, trying to determine what their affect is, and when the differences begin. Are There Differences between the Brains of Men and Women? , an article from Brain and Mind, explains these differences, as well as some of the research techniques scientists use to measure them.

Some of these tests involve the use of MRIs, which allows researchers to study the architecture of the brain. Usually paired with this technique is the use of sensors attached to the head to monitor electrochemical impulses. These impulses can signal how the brain processes information. The volume of the brain, measured during autopsies, can also point to gender differences in the brain. Another test that has been done is to use worms to study differences in male and female brains. That research is available here: Worms Take the Sniff Test to Reveal Sex Differences in the Brain.

These differences are divided into two types: architecture and activity. Architecture measures the difference in brain volume, and the thickness in the different areas of the brain. This is explained in the article Male and Female Brains. Activity measures how the brain processes information, as detailed in Sex Differences in the Brain, from Scientific America. Other articles showing differences in male and female brains include Language Performance and Differences in Brain Activity Possibly Affected by Sex and Female, Male Brain Differences Studied.

Gender differences in the brain may contribute to the prevalence either sex has for certain mental illnesses. Women, for example, are more likely to suffer from depression than men, but boys are four times more likely to be diagnosed with autism than girls. Another difference is how some disorders, such as Alzheimer's or schizophrenia, are displayed in each gender. The symptoms of each disorder manifest differently in men or women. Sex Differences Extend into the Brain explains this. The World Health Organization further studies the affect of gender on mental health in their article Gender and Women's Mental Health. Other mental health differences between genders are discussed in the articles Gender Issues in Mental Health and Gender-Related Brain Differences in Early Onset Mental Disorders.

Useful articles about how gender affects the brain:

Gender Differences are a Laughing Matter

Brain Research and Gender Differences in K-12 Students

Gender Differences Offer New Insight into Psychiatric Disorder

It is clear that gender plays a big part in how the brain functions. This information is important in responding to, and treating, mental illnesses. It is also something that teachers should be aware of. Because of these differences, boys and girls have different strengths and weaknesses in the classroom. These differences in brain function also help to explain why men and women sometimes have difficulty understanding each other. The research done on how gender affects the brain has given a scientific basis to the age-old idea of the differences between his brain and her brain.

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