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Turns out men and women really do think differently, study finds

MRI Brain Scan

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Looks like all those old sexist stereotypes and corny jokes were true: Men and women really are wired differently.

The Guardian reports on a new study confirming that there are indeed major differences in the "wiring" of male and female brains.

The female brain appears to be highly connected across the left and right hemispheres. In the male brain, the connections seem typically stronger between the front and back regions.

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The University of Pennsylvania study used a technique called diffusion tensor imaging to map the neural connections in the brains of 428 males and 521 females aged 8 to 22. Neural connections are not unlike a road system over which the human brain's traffic travels.

Researchers discovered that men's brains are better suited to acts requiring perception and co-ordinated actions, while women's brains are better suited for social skills and memory, which naturally makes them better multitaskers.

"If you look at functional studies, the left of the brain is more for logical thinking, the right of the brain is for more intuitive thinking," researcher Ragini Verma said. "So if there's a task that involves doing both of those things, it would seem that women are hardwired to do those better."

The research team were also surprised at how much their findings reinforced old perceptions.

"I was surprised that it matched a lot of the stereotypes that we think we have in our heads," Verma said. "If I wanted to go to a chef or a hairstylist, they are mainly men."

The study also indicated that male and female brains showed minimal differences in connectivity up to age 13, but became more differentiated in 14- to 17-year-olds.

"It's quite striking how complementary the brains of women and men really are," study co-author Ruben Gur said. "Detailed connection maps of the brain 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 neurological disorders, which are often sex-related."

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