MEMORY (in a Visual-Spacial study)
M : The left hippocampus lit up, the area associated with context-dependent memory.
Men usually keep the main point in mind.
EXP: if a man is lost while driving, he’ll remember the direction & the specific distance traveled
F : The 2 areas that lit up were:
– the right posterior parietal cortex, associated with spatial perception, motor control & attention
– right prefrontal cortex, linked to episodic memory
Women tend to remember all the details. EXP: When driving she’ll usually remember reference points along the way, such as road signs & store windows.
☛ Re. the AMYGDALA
Memory for emotional events is generally better than for neutral ones. Some PET & MRI scan studies focused on the effects of emotional arousal on declarative memory (facts or events brought to mind by conscious, voluntary effort), during memory formation (encoding).
In one case, subjects watched either highly aversive films or neutral films. The level of amygdala activity at encoding predicted later emotional memory performance. Ms: the brain’s response was in the Right amygdala.
Fs: the brain’s response was found in the Left amygdala.
M: Generally, Ms tend to minimally analyze an emotional memory after a brief reflection, then move on to the next task. OR they may choose to go directly to an activity unrelated to feelings, rather than analyze their emotions at all.
F: The F brain is geared toward intuition & emotion. They can recall emotional memories more quickly & more of them in a given period of time, & report them to be richer, more vivid & more intense. This may also come from the cross-hemisphere wiring of F brains.
The down side is that Fs will often ruminate on & revisit emotional memories, & can contribute to anxiety & depression.. This is in part because of:
– far more natural blood flow throughout the brain at any given moment (more white matter processing) and in the cingulate gyrus, (concentration).
Imaging studies of the brain have shown differences between men and women in the spatial pattern & intensity of response to acute pain. One study found that mu-receptors are activated differently in healthy F & M brains (mu, delta & kappa are the 3 main types of opioid receptor in the brain & spinal cord). It’s generally assumed the male brain is better able to tolerate pain. However, the female brain can raise its tolerance to pain when giving birth. (More….)
M: When experiencing pain, their RIGHT amygdala is activated – which has more connections with physical (external) functions, & is expressed thru activities, rather than talking
F: When experiencing pain, their LEFT amygdala is activated, associated with emotional (internal) functions, expressed through anxiety, so need more morphine than men to reach the same level of pain reduction.
But they’re also willing to talk about it & ask for help. (MORE…. & charts)
F: They respond from the LEFT amygdala, which leads to remembering more of the context of the unpleasantness (when, who, why) (The amygdala is important for processing emotional & social cues)
M: They respond from the RIGHT amygdala, which lead them to be drawn to the central features of the unpleasantness (what was important about it)
Ms & Fs respond differently to harsh & irritating sounds. When listening to a recording of white noise interspersed with the sounds of infant crying, brain scans showed differences.
F: Women’s unfocused brain activity abruptly switched to an attentive mode when hearing infant cries.
M: In contrast, the men’s brains remained in the resting state.(More)
However, other studies showed that babies with autism (ASD) usually have higher pitched cries, & pauses between cries are shorter. In that case, both men & women interrupted their mind-wandering when hearing those cries.
ALSO: Patterns of brain activity in both men & women changed when shown an image of an infant’s face.
NEXT: M/F brain #4