Differences Between Men and Women

Differences Between Men and Women

No matter how you may believe that humans came to be humans, we are pretty well-designed, and (as I always say) despite modern American society demanding that we declare that men and women are exactly the same, they are not, and the differences are measurable and meaningful even in young people our student’s ages.

Visually, men have a generally narrower field of vision but it is designed so that men can focus on something in one direction in the distance and follow its movements. Women have a larger field of vision that catches more things, but particularly those at much closer ranges. Men tend to lose things in “plain sight” and the visual parts of the male brain are structured to do ranging, direction and distance while women are much more likely to just “see” it, as it is, after all, “in plain sight.”   But men will see something move or create a contrast against its background at a distance, and they can estimate range and size better over distance. Men’s eyes “search and scan” and their brains process things as though they were targets and can produce a “firing solution” to intercept a target at a future place and time.

On the contrary, women have better visual acuity in close-range. They’re also better at discriminating among colors. Psychologist Jordan Peterson has a broad theory about the color red and ripeness, and a biological advantage to select only the ripest fruit (with the most sugar in it) as it comes into season.  Lots of fruit is red but it changes as it ripens. Of course, blood is also red. Color vision is rooted in the X chromosome. Men have only one X chromosome, women have two, and men are much more likely to be color-blind with reds and greens since the gene can come from a color-blind father’s X chromosome, or a mother who carries the gene on her X chromosome.  And there are women who actually have four types of cone cells in their eyes instead of three, and see “extra” colors that we can’t see. It’s called tetrachromacy.

It’s the same story with the sense of smell. Women generally have a higher sensitivity to various odors and are better than men at discriminating categorizing different odors. This seems to be related to the differences between a men’s and women’s immune systems.  Women are attracted to men whose body odor is perceived to be pleasing to them, and it tends to be pleasing when it is in a body with a compatible immune system. Men typically have a much weaker sense of smell than women and it is explained in part that the olfactory centers in the brains of women have about 50% more cells than those in males. Women typically can smell a lot better.

Men also are likely to have hearing loss (FIVE TIMES more likely!), and will experience it younger than women and it will get worse as they age. But - ears in men and women are almost exactly the same, so it is unlikely to be anatomical but behavioral: perhaps men are often around louder noises for longer periods of time than women. Tinnitus, ringing in the ears, occurs equally for men and women, but even though women with tinnitus often still hear better than men do, they have higher levels of stress in dealing with it than men do as it is a communicative disorder. .

Several studies show that women experience pain at higher levels than men. Women have higher nerve density (including in the fingertips, which makes touch much more sensitive for women than men; at my age I have almost no feeling in my fingertips at all)  and pain is processed differently in the brain depending upon if you are a man or a woman. There is also evidence that the “psychological experience” of pain is very different in men and women, which includes higher levels of depression or anxiety about pain in women,  while men have fewer emotional coping skills and lack the patience to manage pain. And often then hurt themselves all over again.
One area that is very difficult to sort through is verbalization and sex - and I think much of it is politically driven to find data contrary to the stereotypes that women talk more than men.  Measuring real differences in the quantity of words spoken by men and by women in the course of a day vary greatly depending upon the researcher, their gender, politics and degree of social justice warriorship. Fake science has become as real as fake news, it seems.
One study showed that adult women speak a bit over 16,000 words per day and men about 600 words less, in the mid 15,000s. Another found that women speak about 2000 words per day and men around 7000. And another found that women speak 5000 words per day and men 2000.  At this point science has left the building, I fear. It has become about narratives of gender.

Another suggested that men used a broader vocabulary but spoke more about things that could be described concretely (things) whereas women spoke more about other people. One study showed that men often use the words “uh, ah, and yeah” much more frequently than women.  

Until recently, most studies showed that men and women had different vocabularies and that women spoke more and had larger vocabularies, but you tread carefully with this kind of “science” nowadays.  Seems the suggestion that women speak more than men isn’t allowed anymore. Nor is data that suggests women are more verbally aggressive than men, who are more physically aggressive than women.

Nonetheless, there is a good body of science that boys and girls, especially emergent readers, use very different parts of the brain.  Girls will typically have a larger vocabulary than boys and will construct sentences in more complex ways than boys, who are more likely to stick to subject + verb + object and repeat familiar topics.  As they get older boys tend to visualize and verbalize things even more concretely, and girls even more abstractly.  And there is a solid body of evidence that girls do typically start speaking earlier than boys and improve in verbal skills faster than boys, But that the tempo of instruction favors boys.


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