Thursday, October 24, 2013

The Female Brain

As Laurie noted, we have been too intensely focused on one topic for too long.  Especially since it is a topic on which we have very different views regarding how "fair" is defined.

The questions for today are:
  • Are Men and Women different due to the huge variation in our chemical make up?
  • If so, does it matter and why?
Dog Gone and I had many arguments regarding this topic. (ah, the good old days...)  She was adamant that the hormonal and other chemical differences make NO difference.  Whereas being a husband, father of 3 teenage daughters, reader of many books and co-worker to many peers of both sexes, I of course whole heartedly disagreed.
MPP Babies, Brains & Testerone
MPP Why Those That Get to the Top Generally Fail

Being the nerd, my current book on CD is 50 Psychology Classics.  A very interesting read/listen if you like this stuff.  One chapter is regarding the American neuropsychiatrist Louann Brizendine and her cutting edge work in the area of how the human brain is impacted by hormones and other chemicals.

Wiki The Female Brain
NYT The Female Brain

Other books on the topic are written by Michael Gurian.  I read "The Wonder of Girls" and it has helped me to survive in my current environment.  Even though I am still just a guy "who just doesn't understand" to the women of my household...

Thoughts?

PS. One more really good book is "You Just Don't Understand" by Deborah Tannen.

15 comments:

jerrye92002 said...

If you don't think men and women are different, read either "Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus" or "Men are like waffles, women are like spaghetti." Both books point out that men and women think differently, period. Societal conditioning adds to that, and natural tends to hide it, but it's there. From personal experience, women are generally less aggressive in their language (especially) and actions. And while working in the nursery school I observed toddler girls using dolls as they are supposed to be used, while boys used them as hammers or things to be run over with toy trucks. Don't tell me there aren't natural differences. There are dozens of other tests that have been performed over the years, including the research proving that females have vastly more connections between the hemispheres of the brain. So when a woman asks a man "how do you feel" and he says "I don't know," he LITERALLY doesn't know, because that half of his brain doesn't talk to the other half!

Really, I'm amazed sometimes that these two species live together so symbiotically.

jerrye92002 said...

Sorry, that's "natural VARIATION tends to hide it...

John said...

To add some humor...
Comic 1
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Laurie said...

googling is so much easier than commenting

Viewpoint: What if women ruled the world

I agree with this viewpt that the world would be a better place with many more women in leadership positions, because women are different than men.

John said...

I am torn on that. I have met some really good women managers and some really really bad women managers. And maybe that was because they felt they had to "prove something" in the man's world.

jerrye92002 said...

The last time I heard that comment about "if women were in charge" I commented that the last two big wars were India-Pakistan under Indira Gandhi and Arab-Israel under Golda Meir. I absolutely refuse to believe that all women think exactly alike, such as those who insist there are "women's issues" in politics. It's the same with women leaders. They are as likely to start wars or make other "mistakes" as are men. Now, if you want to suggest that Hillary would have been better than Obama I would agree, but it's not because she's female.

John said...

I just returned because I had a related thought. I was thinking that like most things, this is not a black/white issue...

Meaning that there is a distribution of behaviors within the population of "men". From the sensitive caring man to the testosterone driven "he man"... And a distribution of behaviors within the population of women that ranges from the sensitive caring estrogen driven woman to the cold hard power hungry all business woman. And of course these distributions are not mutually exclusive and likely overlap in some way.

The question I have is which type of women and men are willing to sacrifice family time for power, money and prestige? Are women and men who are willing to do this more alike each other than like their respective sexes?

And how many of these power, money and driven people reside within the population of each sex?

Dog and my biggest argument came when I proposed that a smaller percentage of women are willing to sacrifice family time than men...

If this is the case, should society respect the family enough to not hold back people of either sex that choose to put their family first? Should people who worked less, travelled less, relocated less, etc be given the same pay, positions, etc as those who gave everything to the job?

By the way... Who is more masculine/feminine? Bill or Hillary Clinton?

Laurie said...

I just started reading the Autistic Brain tonight to get a better understanding of my students. Half of the students I work with qualify for spec ed through autism spectrum criteria.

It doesn't have much to do with your topic of how men and women are different, but advances in brain research are interesting. I would also like to learn more about how a bipolar brain differs from a more typical brain.


Back on topic, I think my point, which my link supports, is having leadership in government that is less dominated by men would be a good thing.

John said...

But would the type of "woman" who would pursue that path be much different from the "men" who pursue that path?

And yes what they can do with brain scans nowadays is is absolutely fascinating.
PBS Brain Scan
CBS Autism Scans

jerrye92002 said...

As for having more women in government, I don't think it is a bad thing, but it certainly should not be done just for gender balance purposes. I led a "multifunctional, diversified" team, once, and found that the woman filling the "female quota" was a better man than any of us. Very capable, driven, and aggressive in her speaking. Very attractive, too, but nobody noticed! :-)

John said...

One up side to the new job. Since it is a corporate headquarters, the work force is much more diverse. (ie vs working in a design / manufacture facility) I wonder if the women even notice? Or if the following comics say it all...

Comic 8
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John said...

Another question:
How much of this difference is genetics? How much is environment?

John said...

No more thoughts here?

Should we have more balanced and sensitive people in leadership positions, even though being "balanced" means they likely work less, are willing to relocate less, are willing to travel less?

Personally I don't have much nice to say about upper mgmt or politicians, unfortunately it seems that one has a much greater liklihhood of "succceeding" if they are self centered, somewhat narcisstic, etc. I mean who else would sacrifice so much for money, power, etc.

And since I apparently respect women more than men, I don't see them being foolish enough to sacrifice the important stuff for money and power. So I guess I'll have to get used to hearing people blame the establishment and men for holding women back. When it is actually the women themselves that are choosing their circumstance...

John said...

I actually gave this great thought after getting my MBA at the University of St Thomas. Should I strive to become upper management?

After some soul searching I figured out that I was not willing to make the neccessary sacrifices... Now should I blame the establishment and old boys club for the consequnces for my choice?

Thoughts?

John said...

While looking for a summary of Brain Sex. One of the first books to explain the differences between boy and girl brains.

I learned of Delusions of Gender. A book that tries to argue against men and women being wired differently.

Enjoy !!!