From sense of direction to rationality, the subtle differences between men and ... trends now

From sense of direction to rationality, the subtle differences between men and ... trends now
From sense of direction to rationality, the subtle differences between men and ... trends now

From sense of direction to rationality, the subtle differences between men and ... trends now

Men and women really are wired differently, a fascinating study revealed this week.

Differences in brain activity that hadn't yet been spotted by scientists was detected by artificial intelligence, revealing 'hotspots' that can be used to tell the sexes apart.

The findings suggest there are key differences in the 'default mode network', a brain system that helps us process the idea of 'self', and the striatum and limbic network, which are involved in learning and how people respond to rewards.

The researchers, from Stanford University, said the study helps resolve a long-term controversy over whether there are sex differences in the brain. 

However, previous studies had already pointed to differences in how men and women think, with women proving to have stronger memory and language skills, while men are found to be funnier and have better direction skills.

Additionally, it was already known that men's brains were around a tenth bigger, clocking in at 1.37kg compared to women's 1.27kg, on average.

However, researchers have long cautioned that this doesn't align with intelligence, pointing to sperm whales, which have brains weighing nearly 8kg but are not known for being smart.

Previous studies have pointed to differences in how men and women think, with women proving to have stronger memory and language skills, while men are found to be funnier and have better direction skills. Additionally, it was already known that men's brains were around a tenth bigger, clocking in at 1.37kg compared to women's 1.27kg, on average, research suggests

Previous studies have pointed to differences in how men and women think, with women proving to have stronger memory and language skills, while men are found to be funnier and have better direction skills. Additionally, it was already known that men's brains were around a tenth bigger, clocking in at 1.37kg compared to women's 1.27kg, on average, research suggests

Humour

While still fewer than men, the number of female comedians doing stand-up and featuring on panel shows has skyrocketed in recent years, perhaps inspired by the likes of Katherine Ryan and Sara Pascoe.

But, incredibly controversially, researchers claim that men are typically funnier.

In 2019, psychologists at Aberystwyth University and the University of North Carolina reviewed around two dozen studies, each of which measured participants' humour.

For example, in some, volunteers were shown cartoons and then asked to write a funny caption.

Judges then ranked the responses on funniness out of five. 

Results, published Journal of Research in Personality, showed that men were rated 63 per cent above the average humour ability of women, which the researchers said is a 'small to medium difference'.

This does not mean that every man is funnier than every woman, they emphasised.  

The team suggested the finding could be a result of evolution, with women valuing men with a great sense of humour, as it is a sign of intelligence — crucial for survival when humans were primarily hunter-gatherers.

However, female comedians dismissed the study as 'unnecessary' and said the research could put women off going into comedy. 

Other studies have suggested that, rather than men actually being funnier, the idea that they are may just be a stereotype. 

Rationality

Despite women historically being labelled as less rational, it is, in fact, men who science suggests are less logical, as they are more likely to make extreme decisions.

Researchers in Australia looked at 97 studies involving more than 50,000 people.

All were offered a hypothetical sum of money and asked how much they wanted immediately and how much they would take later, with interest, as well as what sum they wanted to invest in a risky lottery and how much they would give to charity.

They were also asked how much they would give to another person, who would then triple the sum and have the option of returning the cash.

Men were more likely to make extreme choices than women, according to the results published in PNAS in 2021.

They were more likely to invest more money in the risky lottery, donate none of the money to charity and either share either none or more than 60 per cent of their cash with the person who could triple the sum.  

Study author Professor Stefan Volk, head of discipline international business at the University of Sydney Business School, said: 'We found men were much more likely than women to be at the extreme ends of the behavioural spectrum.

'[For example,] either acting very selfishly or very altruistically, very trusting or very distrusting, very fair or very unfair, very risky or very risk averse and were either very short-term or very long-term focused.'

He pointed to parental investment theory as an explanation, which suggests men

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