“Talk low, talk slow and don’t say too much.” -John Wayne
It hasn’t been until the last 15 years that modern technology and sophisticated research has allowed scientist to observe and prove how men and women brains work differently. While in the 70’s and the 80’s men and women tried to be equal, which really meant “the same”, the focus has shifted to “equal, but different”. While researchers are making the most amazing discoveries, many people are still completely unaware of these facts.
The differences are quite shocking. Most of us have noticed that men and women ‘speak a different language’. Now scientists are providing the evidence. Not only do we feel differently, we also listen, think, observe, process information and approach problem solving from completely different angles. What impact will this information have on our lives? For most people this comes as a big relief. It’s nobody’s fault that we have such a hard time getting along. We really are just different.
Men and women listen differently. Women engage in the process. They nod their heads or vocalize to show that they follow the conversation. Men pay attention quietly. They sit still and absorb the information without demonstrating that they understand. I first noticed this when leading a seminar for an all male audience. I conducted my class the same way I would normally present it to women. A little while into the seminar I started getting nervous. Something wasn’t quite right! My students were just sitting there staring at me. “Maybe they don’t understand my point?”, I thought. “Or, maybe they don’t agree with what I am saying?” So I asked: “Are you following me so far?” Everybody nodded and I relaxed. Teaching this first class for men was a stressful experience. Little did I know that it was just the difference in how men and women absorb information.
A Few Facts:
Male and female brains are built differently. While men access each part of the brain for specific tasks separately, women access both parts of the brain for lot’s of things. For example: when men use language, the right side of the brain is active. When women speak, they access both hemispheres of the brain at the same time. This is true for most other activities. When women listen, both parts of the brain are engaged while men concentrate in one side at a time. In women, both sides of the brain are busy ‘seeing’ while in men only the left side is active. This explains why so many times women seem confusing to men and what we say makes no sense at all. Not only do women multi-task, we also multi-think, multi-speak and we do tend to see things from many different angles.
The Male Brain by Louann Brizendine
The Female Brain by Louann Brizendine
Brain Sex: The Real Difference Between Men And Women by Anne Moir and David Jessel
Brain Gender by Melissa Hines
Same Words Different Language: How Men And Women Misunderstand Each Other At Work And What To Do About It by Barbara Annis
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Photo Credit: Hamed Hamousi via Flickr