It’s All in Your Brain

Female brain

 

Male brain

 

By now, we’ve all read the research. Female human brains operate more efficiently between left and right hemispheres, male brain operate better within each hemisphere. Got it.

 

It makes sense that different sorts of people have slightly different ways of viewing the world, so that together they can combine their skills and come up with new ways of solving problems or attacking scarcities.

 

There is some talk that we need to decide which is more “human” than the other, which is sort of like asking if a long fibula is “better” than a short one (the fibula is one of the bones that extends from knee to ankle). For running, maybe. For being human, makes no difference.

 

Absent injury or disease, people develop the brains they are supposed to develop. Intra-hemisphere competent or inter-hemisphere competent, they’re both human.

 

What scientists have not yet measured are the brains of other primates. Orangutans, chimpanzees, gorillas. Measuring those, we might find that female/male brain function differences in other primates are even more profound than ours.

 

We will probably never be able to measure past hominids’ and humans’ brains. Neanderthals may be forever lost to us, which means we will not discover how those women’s brains differed in function from male brains.

 

However, we can make a guess. Because long ago societies were very much restricted as to gender roles, most children’s brains formed along expected lines. This is proper for a girl, that for a boy. Prescribed roles echoed stereotyped perceptions of ability. Thus we could expect even more gender difference in brain functioning of past hominids and human than we see in ourselves.

 

Oh, brave new world, that has such people in it! The more we evolve to resemble each other, the more differences seem to matter.

 

Here are the individual differences that truly matter: how we treat each other. Do we create pain or do we heal it? Do we teach or do we destroy? Can we be trusted or not? Do we use our brains to fear and castigate, or do we use them to esteem other people?

 

Let’s stop focusing on inherent adult brain differences, and start focusing on what individuals, female and male, actually do with their brains.

 

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