The train of thought on gender difference in brain function was written by Simon Baron-Cohen, the director of the Autism Research Centre at Cambridge University in his book: "The Essential
Difference: Men, Women and the Extreme Male Brain", (published by Penguin)
is that men' s brains, on the average, are of a slightly different mentality
than women's brains. Men seem to be better at analytical thinking, while women are deemed better at being more intuitive in reading other people's feelings. In his book, he shows this is caused biologically rather than culturally.
Scientists have researched for many years to try to distinguish the differences between the brain functions of men and women, Preliminary research has shown the male brain to be larger in size compared to the brain of a woman. The difference in size is more anatomical than functional because men are usually larger in body size than women.
Some studies have found that hormones that are present as a baby develops will have an affect on the baby's brain to determine the sex of the baby, to become a boy or a girl. These studies concentrated on:
1) Total Brain Size
2) The Corpus Callosum
3) The Hypothalamus
At birth, studies have found that the median weight of a boy's brain is larger than the brain of a girl's brain. The boy's brain weighs an average of 2% more than the weight of a girl's brain. When the weight of the brain is compared to the weight of the body, it has been found there is not practically any difference between the two. As a person grows into an adult, the brain weight in men average 11-12% more than the weight in women's brain.
The corpus callosum is the major pathway to connect the left and right cerebral hemispheres. It is a fiber tract made of 200-250 million axons that are resembling a thick band of nerve fibers that divide the cerebrum into left and right hemispheres. This allows for communication between both sides of the brain hemispheres. It has been found that a woman's brain has a larger corpus collusum. This means women are faster at transfering data between the left and right hemisphere of the brain than men. Men are more inclined to use the left hemisphere of their brains.
The hypothalamus has two areas: the preoptic area and the suprachiasmatic area. These areas show clear differences in female and male brains. The preoptic area is involved in mating response. The size of a man's hypothalamus preoptic area is approximately 2.2 times larger than in a woman and is known to contain two times more cells. the suprachiasmatic nucleus of the hypothalamus deals with circadian rhythms and the reproduction cycle. The only difference between men and women in this area is shape. In men, they are shaped like a sphere. In women they are shaped more elongated. The number of cells and volume are the same in men and women.
Dentritic connections are the basis receiving stations by which neurons form the signaling network that constitutes the brain's circuitry. In studies, it has been discovered women have more dentritic connections between brain cellls than men. In conclusion there are some differences between men and women brain functions, but in other ways, they are similar.