PREVIOUS: M/F BRAINS #4
COMBINED INFO (cont.)
Brain Activity :
F: have far more natural blood flow throughout the brain’s white matter at any given moment, & the cingulate gyrus (for concentration) – so they will often revisit & ruminate on emotional memories
M : After reflecting briefly on an emotive memory, males tend to analyze it a bit & then move on to the next task. OR they may choose to change course & do something active & unrelated to feelings, rather than consider them at all
a. M/F hippocampal structural differences are related to spatial intelligence, working memory & executive control, but not to verbal intelligence, attention & processing speed
b. Using fMRI brain scans, M & F subjects who viewed ’emotional’ images showed a difference in how emotions were noticed & ‘understood’, based on the way they engage neurocircuitry when processing & “down-regulating” (blunting) emotions
M: a. Men have a harder time understanding emotional cues (unspoken) – since their hippocampus is usually smaller, while their amygdala is larger (regulating sexual & social behavior)
b. Men showed neural responses in the visual cortex, immediately activating circuitry that regulates shifts in attention to the world, moving the emotional impact of the images away from themselves (More….)
F: a. Women generally have a larger hippocampus (memory center) & deeper limbic system (regulating emotions) – with a higher density of neural connections into the hippocampus.
b. Women showed neural activity in the anterior insula cortex, which processes bodily sensations, so they felt emotions deeply in their bodies
Conclusion: Fs intuit emotional cues more easily, absorbing more sensory experiences, feeling the full range & depth of the emotional spectrum – which promotes bonding with others
The down side is that it also opens women up to depression, especially with hormonal shifts such as after childbirth or in the menstrual cycle.
Patterns of cooperation
👬 A research study showed that pairs of men tend to cooperate better than pairs of women
👫 In mixed-sex pairs, women tend to cooperate better than men
SUBJECTIVE: In one study, M & F teens gave self-reports and had physiological measures taken while watching animated clips of people being hurt. Girls scored higher than boys on self-reported empathy, & this difference increased with age. But no physical sex differences were detected in blood pressure, heart rate or pupil dilation – all measures of emotional responsiveness.
This suggests that Fs & Ms feel the same thing, but report it differently.
The brain is involved in all aspects of sexual behavior, from desire & partner choice, to arousal & orgasm, even post-coital cuddling.
EXP: Orgasm shuts down the orbito-frontal cortex, the seat of reason & behavioral choices – in both genders. It’s what provides the out-of-control feeling that creates confusion, but also intense pleasure
M: Men have 2x more sexually specific neurons in their hypothalamus – than women – with significantly higher neuronal densities & amounts in their cerebral cortex (More….)
One study found that in an average one-week period, men had sex-related thoughts 18.6 x, vs. 9.9 x for women. (Doesn’t apply to people with various mental disorders)
F: During orgasm, women’s brains showed decreased activity in the amygdala & hippocampus, which handle fear/anxiety. Because the F brain is geared toward intuition & emotion, it may be why most women have a greater need to feel safe & relaxed in order to enjoy sex
Also, men have 50% MORE serotonin receptors than women, and Serotonin can only be raised externally, SO – women need twice as much:
love, affection AND sex – to get the same levels of serotonin & dopamine as men, & therefore to experience similar levels of happiness. (More….)
⬆️ INTERESTING: Scientists found a signal encoded in the amygdala that suggests why young children have an aversion to the opposite sex (“cooties” effect), AND their growing interest in opposite-sex peers as they enter puberty. (More….)
NEXT: F vs F brain #6