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HEALTH REPORT - Men and Women Really Do Think Differently

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The ultimate power couple. Former U.S. President Bill Clinton and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in Washington, D.C.
The ultimate power couple. Former U.S. President Bill Clinton and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in Washington, D.C.

From VOA Learning English, this is the Health Report.

Raise your hand if this story sounds familiar.

A man enters a store to buy milk. He walks out of the store with milk. That is all -- milk. At the same time, a woman enters the same grocery store also to buy milk.

She buys it.

But, she also buys chicken and lemons to make dinner that night.

Then she remembers to buy food for her son to eat at school. She also gets a bottle of wine for drinks with friends and a birthday card for her husband's niece. Then she gets coffee for breakfast, ice cream for dessert and remembers stamps to mail the bills. And don't forget soap for the bathroom.

And that is the difference between the female and male brains simply explained in a grocery store.

Generally speaking, men do one thing at a time. Women do many. Doing many things at one time is often called "multi-tasking," a very popular word these days.

Now scientific research supports this theory about male and female brains. A recent study has confirmed what we have known all along – men and women think differently.

Neural map of a typical male brain. (Photo courtesy of National Academy of Sciences)
Neural map of a typical male brain. (Photo courtesy of National Academy of Sciences)

Scientists at the University of Pennsylvania studied brain images of 949 people aged from eight to 22 years old. They found that male brains have more connections on one side of the brain, or hemisphere. In the female brain, they found more activity and connections between the right and left sides of the brain. The left side of the brain is known as the side of "reason." The right hemisphere is known as the "creative" side.

Regina Verma is a professor at the University of Pennsylvania. She co-wrote the report. She says when women are asked to do something difficult they might use different parts of the brain. Men, she adds, generally use just one side of the brain.

Neural map of a typical female brain. (Photo courtesy of National Academy of Sciences)
Neural map of a typical female brain. (Photo courtesy of National Academy of Sciences)

As a result, men generally deal directly with a problem. There is a strong connection between the "understanding" and the "action" parts of their brains. Women, however, might include other parts of the brain, like the part connected with reason and the part connected with sensitivity when solving a problem. Women take a less direct path to find a solution.

Dr. Verma warns that the study should not lead anyone to expect some behaviors from women and others from men.

And that's the Health Report, from VOA Learning English. I'm Anna Matteo.

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