We've all heard the saying, "Men are from Mars and women are from Venus."
I mean, sure, there are a lot of obvious physical differences that exist between the two sexes. But have you ever wondered if our brains work in the same way?
In a recent study at UCLA, researchers set out to answer this question by using magnetic resonance imaging to measure people's brain activity during blood pressure trials.
At the conclusion of these trials, scientists found that men and women exhibited opposite responses in the insular cortex, which is the part of the brain that deals with emotions, blood pressure control and self-awareness.
Apparently, men tend to show a much greater blood pressure response in the front right area of the insular cortex, where as women tend to display a lower response.
The study's lead author, Paul Macey, stated,
This is such a critical brain area and we hadn't expected to find such strong differences between men and women's brains. This region, the front-right insula, is involved with stress and keeping heart rate and blood pressure high. It's possible the women had already activated this region because of psychological stress, so that when they did the physical test in the study, the brain region could not activate any more. However, it's also possible that this region is wired differently in men and women.
So then, what does all of this mean exactly?
The study highlights the notion that men and women function differently on a much deeper level than originally perceived. Plus, these findings raise a lot of questions about why these discrepancies in brain activity occur and what other body responses might be also affected by gender.
According to Macey,
We believe that differences in the structure and function of the insula in men and women might contribute to different clinical symptoms in some medical disorders.
So I guess it's safe to say that men and women really are hardwired differently after all.