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Men’s Brains/Women’s Brains

While men and women are equal in intellectual capacity and intelligence, researchers at the University of Pennsylvania have found striking differences in how men’s and women’s brains are wired.  In one brain region, women have more connections between left and right hemispheres and men, within hemispheres, while in another brain region, it is the other way around – completely reversed.

Researchers say the differences may explain, for example, why on average men are better at learning and performing single tasks, such as cycling or navigating, while women tend to be better at multitasking and problem solving in group situations.

In another study published in the journal Biology of Sex Differences (September 2012), researchers found that men and women see things differently because their brain’s visual centers work differently.  They suggested that women are better at distinguishing colors, men are more sensitive to fine detail and rapidly moving stimuli.

A major imaging study, again at the University of Pennsylvania showed stark behavior differences between the sexes, especially around the age of 13, with females outperforming males in tests  of word and face memory, attention and social cognition or awareness, and males doing better in tests of spatial processing and sensorimotor speed.

However, in the cerebellum, a brain region important for motor control – males had greater connectivity between the left and right hemispheres, while females showed more connectivity within each hemisphere.

According to neurologist Dr. Ruben Gur… “detailed connection maps of brain wiring will not only help us better understand the differences between how men and women think, but it will also give us more insight into the roots of neuropsychiatric disorders which are often sex related”.

The University of Pennsylvania studies also suggested that as a generality, men tend to be more left brain dominant while women seem to do better processing information utilizing right brain processes.

Men and/or women who are left brain dominant will do better with tasks that are logical, scientific, analytic, rational, mathematical, verbal, sequential and utilize a lot of facts.  Men and women who are right brain dominant emphasize and artistic, emotional, fantasy, intuitive, musical, imagery, non-rational and spiritual approach in processing information.

Brain dominance also determines your organizational and work style.  A left brain dominant person prefers sending memos, uses facts to illustrate points, is logical, analytical, orderly and usually displays little emotion and needs to know the rationale before acting.  At the end of the day, they have a clean desk.

A right brain person or manager prefers verbal exchanges where they can read faces, gestures, and voice inflections.  Their work strategy goes in fits and starts with frequent interruptions.  Their office doors are open and they take frequent breaks.  They are usually quite intuitive and kind of “fly by the seat of their pants”.  They prefer drawing diagrams, are humorous and animated and prefer a lateral thinking approach and approaching problems from off-beat directions.  At the end of the day, their desks are cluttered with stacks of paper.

Ideally, utilizing both brains for creativity and problem solving will produce better results.  Brain dominance determines why some things come easy and other tasks are so difficult.  Why are some people so smart and some so dull at the same time?  Why can’t some of the most creative thinkers comprehend a balance sheet and some accountants have no sense of product development?

If you work with clients, understanding the differences in brain dominance will help you in connecting or making sales.

The left brained client is usually neatly dressed, wears traditional “not showy” clothing, often carries a calculator, neatly arranged purse or billfold, desk is neat with clocks, gestures sparingly, records facts, figures costs, speech is all business – focused on information, practicalities, statistics, is articulate and informative, asks many who-what-where-why questions, asks precise questions and will usually make decisions quickly and costs-delivery-maintenance are of interest.

The right brain client is more casually dressed, clothing is more flamboyant and colorful, frequently has larger jewelry, writes appointments on scraps of paper, has a cluttered desk, purse or billfold, can’t find a pen or pencil, their office usually has stacks of books – papers are scattered, speech is imprecise and filled with “I see…I wish…looks great”, can be emotionally meandering and speculative, gestures broadly and tries to get the big picture – not details, comments on the physical appearance of products, tends to be vague about their needs, listens poorly to explanations but prefers pictures and schematics.

Brain styles and dominance are usually “mixed” where one can have some right brain qualities even though they are primarily left brain dominant.

Ideally, it would be best to be full brain dominant as were Albert Einstein and Leonardo daVinci.

Hopefully, this will help you understand a bit more about how our brains work and how miscommunication and misunderstanding can be a reflection of how our brains are “wired”.


Lee Pulos, Ph.D., ABPP


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