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Mars & Venus?Alike or Different?

Men's and women's brains are alike?except when they aren't. Scientists can't seem to agree on whether Mars and Venus are the same or different. Some think that the differences between men and women are vastly overestimated and the two sexes are more similar in personality, communication, cognitive ability than we realize. BUT others say men and women do different things with the same parts of their brains.

According to researcher Janet S. Hyde, based on scientific analysis of studies on gender differences, males and females from childhood to adulthood are more alike than different on most but not all psychological variables. The traits and variables examined by the studies that Hyde looked at were cognitive abilities, verbal and nonverbal communication, social or psychological traits like aggression or leadership, psychological well-being like self-esteem, motor behaviors like throwing distance and moral reasoning. Gender differences accounted for either zero or a very small effect for most of these variables examined.

BUT MRIs show that men's and women's brains really do work differently. Men and women utilize different parts of their brains while they perform the same tasks. Volunteers performed memory tasks, verbal tasks, visual spatial tasks and simple motor tasks while their brain activity was monitored with functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging technology.

Dr. Emily Bell says, "The results jumped out at us. Sometimes males and females would perform the same tasks and show different brain activation, and sometimes they would perform different tasks and show the same brain activation."

Psychiatrist Peter Silverstone is not surprised, because twice as many women as men suffer from clinical depression. There are many other psychiatric conditions in which the male and female ratio is not equal. He says, "?We may increasingly find out that there are differences in the 'hard wiring' of male and female brains."

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