The Jakarta Post
In the biggest brain imaging survey ever conducted, scientists have found data that suggest that the brains of women are significantly more active than men’s. (Shutterstock/File)
One common stereotype against women is that they tend to overthink things. While this is still a ridiculous stereotype, there might be something to it.
In the biggest brain imaging survey ever conducted, scientists have found data that suggest that the brains of women are significantly more active than men’s.
Led by Daniel Amen, a psychiatrist and founder of Amen Clinics in California, the study found that women have more brain activity than men particularly in the cerebral cortex, which is primarily involved in impulse control and focus, as well as the emotional areas of the brain, which affect mood and anxiety.
On the other hand, the study found that the visual and coordination sections of the brain were more active in men.
The study looked at brain scans of 119 healthy volunteers, as well as at over 26,000 patients with different psychiatric conditions including brain trauma, bipolar disorder, mood disorders, schizophrenia and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Specifically, they looked at 128 brain regions to determine which parts were more active at baseline and during concentration tasks. Volunteers and patients were then given various cognitive tasks while researchers measured the blood flow in their brain using single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT).
Through this study, Amen and his team hope that they would be able to understand the different brain disorders.
“This is a very important study to help understand gender-based brain differences,” Amen said as quoted by nypost.com. “The quantifiable differences we identified between men and women are important for understanding gender-based risk for brain disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease.”
What their study has suggested is that women have significantly higher rates of Alzheimer's disease, depression and anxiety disorders. Meanwhile, men have higher rates of ADHD, conduct-related problems, an incarceration.
These findings, particularly that women showed greater blood flow in the prefrontal cortex compared to men, may explain why women are more vulnerable to anxiety, depression, insomnia and eating disorders. Interestingly, it also explains why women tend to have greater strengths in intuition, collaboration, self-control and concern, as well as an overall greater capacity to be empathetic. (tha/kes)