Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Gender and Map Reading, #2

Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania used a special brain-scanning technique called diffusion tensor imaging, which can measure the flow of water along a nerve pathway. According to Professor Verma, this technique established the level of connectivity between nearly 100 regions of the brain, creating a neural map of the brain called the “connectome.” It allows scientists to determine whether one area of the brain is physically connected to another area of the brain, which allows them to compare similarities and differences between two populations. Conclusions are that there are differences in the way nerves connect when comparing male brains with female brains. It appears that a type of hardwiring occurs during adolescence, a time when many of the so-called secondary sexual characteristics such as facial hair in men and breasts in women develop. Researchers believe that these hardwiring differences play an important role in understanding the reason males are generally better at spatial tasks involving muscle control, while females are generally better at verbal tasks involving memory and intutition.

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