Gender & the Brain: Differences between Women & Men


A study completed recently in December 2013 on nearly 1,000 brain scans has surprisingly confirmed what many of us thought…that there are major differences between the male & female brain.  Women’s and men’s brains are indeed wired in fundamentally different ways.

The research showed that on average, female brains are highly connected across the left and right hemispheres, and connections in male brains are typically stronger between the front and back regions. Men’s brains tend to perform tasks predominantly on the left-side, which is the logical/rational side of the brain. Women, on the other hand, use both sides of their brains because a woman’s brain has a larger Corpus Callosum, which means women can transfer data between the right and left hemispheres faster than men.


Here is a list of the basic differences between women & men based on research studies of the brain done up to now.  This might be a handy list to show to your other half to avoid future misunderstandings!

  • Brain Size & Brain Connections: Women’s brains are 8% smaller than men’s, but have more interconnections.  Women perform better at “bigger picture” & situational thinking while men do better on more specific spatial thinking (problem solving, and pattern prediction involving objects and their spatial relationships).
  • Multi-tasking: Men tend to be better at learning and performing a single task, like cycling or navigating, and women are better at juggling different tasks at once.
  • Social Context: Women are better at social thinking & interactions than men, while men are more abstract and task-orientated.  This is why women are normally better at communication while men more often prefer relying on themselves to get things done.
  • Emotions: Women typically have a larger limbic system than men, which makes them more in touch and expressive with their emotions.  Women are usually more empathic and comprehensive in thinking, while men focus on exact issues and disregard impertinent information.  Men have a difficult time understanding emotions not explicitly verbalized but can think more logically, while women have a more wholesome view of thinking & understanding but their emotions can sometimes influence decisions.
  • Math Skills: A brain area called the “Inferior-Parietal Lobule (IPL)” is normally larger in men than women.  This area is thought to control mathematical processes, which explains why men typically can perform mathematical tasks better than women.
  • Pain: Women tend to perceive pain more intensely than men.  The Amygdala is the brain area activated when pain is felt. The right Amygdala is activated for men and the left Amygdala is activated for women. The right Amygdala has more connections with external functions while the left Amygdala has more connections with internal functions.
  • Coordination & Movement: Men are generally better with coordination, controlling their movements, and have faster reaction times.
  • Language: Women are more attuned to words and sounds and are normally better at learning languages.  This is also why men tend to have a harder time expressing emotions verbally.
  • Memory: Women generally have better memory than men.  They have greater activity in the brain’s hippocampus, which is part of the brain that helps store memories. Studies have shown women are generally better at recalling words, names, faces, pictures, objects, and everyday events.
  • Sense of Direction: Men has shown to have better visual-spatial & geographic memory and thinking, meaning they tend to have a better sense of direction and remembering where locations and areas are.
  • Risks & Rewards: Men has a brain wired for risk-taking more than women.  Male brains get a bigger burst of endorphins, sensation of pleasure, when faced with a risky or challenging situation.  And the bigger the reward is, the more likely a man will take a risk.
  • Senses & Sex: Men focus more on their visual sense, among other senses of perception; while women tend to use multiple senses. In terms of sexual activity, men are prevalently turned on by what they see, whereas women are turned on by multiple sources: ambience, touch, scent, as well as visual perception.

What did you think about the list?  Tell us in the comments!  Be sure to follow our blog for more lifestyle & health tips and lists.  Also, both our female and male readers can challenge and entertain their brain by playing Fit Brains brain training games, so check it out!



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21 thoughts on “Gender & the Brain: Differences between Women & Men”

  1. I totally agree on your analysis. I have been married for 23 years and the mystery concerning communication skills is “in the brain.” I can hardly understand what my precious wife says to me. I am sure women use the right side of the brain, men, the left side. I have been observing women’s behavior over the years. Here are two observations.
    1. When placing a letter in our mail box for mailing,my wife puts the letter on the right side of the box, I always use the left side of the box!

    2. How women park their cars! In a parking lot at Wal Mart, I observed 50 women and their parking habits, 40 of them did not straighten out their front wheels. Observed 50 men and their parking, all 50 men straightened out their front wheels!

    3. In the home I can recite many differences, We hang up our towels differently! Problem solved. LOL…We are wired differently.

  2. Eh? Does this mean I am in between? I feel like I have all elements and can switch between any form of thinking. I can think of the bigger picture, how things connect together, which is what women are *supposedly* better at and I can also think of things at a smaller scale.

    And in the illustration, it depicts the woman having a lot of analysis, with the man only thinking about the pizza. I feel like I have the thinking of the woman there and everyone else around me – no matter the gender – is the man. Does this mean I have a woman’s brain? Not at all.

    This is more about what is *common*. I do not think this is something that happens 100% of the time.

  3. You just wasted your time doing this research. Women and men are different species period. It is pointless to compare things that are by definition differ.

  4. Fantastic web site. Lots of useful information here. I¡¦m sending it to several pals ans also sharing in delicious. And of course, thanks on your sweat!

  5. This was real good and helpful gir both parties to understand the different. For whoever wants to learn the different cause we are different and thats a known fact. Very good research n helpful.

  6. As a woman, I am extremely photographically skilled at directions and how to get somewhere through mentally visualizing my place in comparison. However, don’t even think of asking my boyfriend if it’s R or L!! lol
    Also, mathematics has always been a strong suit of mine, and science based classes.. meanwhile, my bf is much better at writing papers and essays..
    The emotional connections were very accurate for us, I feel intense complexity with interactions and communication, whereas he misses all the cues I pick up on!
    In general, very good article!! Thank You.

  7. Much of the information I read were things I knew, or was quite sure about. I have to admit that I was very surprised that women are better at multi-tasking than men. In may family the guys tend to multi-task better than the women. It was an extremely interesting blog, and I’m very glad that I found it…especially since my comparing/contrasting men and women paper for my freshman comp class is due tomorrow, and I was able to use info from this (citing it, of coarse!!) to add to my paper!!!

  8. I’m wondering if the differences you laid out in this post have anything to do with how long it takes someone to fall asleep. I fall asleep as soon as my head hits the pillow, but it takes my girlfriend forever to shut down and drift off to sleep.

    Also-great comic choice- it made me chuckle.

  9. I notice that there is no link to this study — not here or in any other article that I can find that presents these gender stereotypes as “science”. You mention this study — but you don’t link to it. How can one scrutinize it?

  10. Some references to the “study” would be nice. Who or what organization conducted the “nearly 1000 brain scans”? Was the sampling regionally specific? were there 999 men scanned and 1 woman? Was this study funded by a group that would benefit from these published results? Were the findings peer reviewed?

  11. What happens if the brains of transgender individuals are scanned? Are the results the same ?

  12. I really don’t think the sexes are different! I think there are many different types of women and many different types of men. Saying all men think a certain way, and all women think a certain way is not true in all cases! If it is true for you and people you know then you will assume it is true for everyone. I am a man, but I think/feel similarly to the typical way we think women work in their selves.
    I’m sensitive, emotional, sentimental, concerned about how people around me are feeling. As a man I’m shut down and feel like I am asked to deny these aspects of my being. Is this good? To deny a man expressing his emotions. Women are expected to express their feelings, thoughts, talk about themselves. Men are taught to be self less. To talk nothing of themselves, to no one. Is this healthy for men?

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