Study: Men, Women Don't Think Alike

Brain scans reveal differences in activity while performing similar tasks

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FRIDAY, Dec. 9, 2005 (HealthDay News) -- Launching another salvo in the gender wars, a new study finds that men and women use different areas of the brain when doing the same kinds of tasks.

The study included 23 men and 10 women who performed memory, verbal, visual spatial and simple motor tasks while their brain activity was monitored using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI).

"The results jumped out at us. Sometimes males and females would perform the same tasks and show different brain activation, and sometimes they would perform different tasks and show the same brain activation," study lead author Emily Bell, a doctoral student in psychiatry at the University of Alberta, Canada, said in a prepared statement.

"It is widely recognized that there are differences between males and females, but finding that different regions of the brain are activated in men and women in response to the same task has large potential implications for a variety of different clinical situations," study co-author and University of Alberta psychiatrist Dr. Peter Silverstone said in a prepared statement.

For example, he said the study findings suggest that there should be a gender-specific focus to psychiatric research projects and clinical trials.

"The larger implications of this work, as well as other work pointing in the same direction, is that we may increasingly find out that there are differences in the 'hardwiring' of male and female brains," Silverstone said.

The study findings appear in the December issue of the journal NeuroImage.

More information

The U.S. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke has more about the brain.

SOURCE: University of Alberta, news release, Dec. 1, 2005


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