Essay by Richard on Male-Female Psychology
There is no doubt whatsoever that there are staggering psychological differences between men and women, but unfortunately most us do not take those differences seriously and the consequences are that we have so many broken relationships. Some of us are wiser when the chips are down or when it comes to the crunch, but sometimes it is too late to put up the pieces together. What is done can't be undone. There's no use crying over spilt milk. To be wise afterwards is a normal reaction in human beings, at least this proverbial saying demonstrates that.
UK It is easy to be wise after the event.
It is too late to shut the stable-door after the horse has bolted.
PT Depois de a casa arrombada, trancas à / na porta.
"After the house broken into, bars on-the door"
É fácil ser prudente depois do acontecimento "Is easy be prudent after the event"
ES ¡A buenas horas mangas verdes ! "At good hours sleeves green"
El niño ahogado, tapar el pozo. "The child drowned, cover (infinit.) the well"
Después del caballo hurtado, cerrar la caballeriza.
"After the horse stolen, close (infinit.) the stable"
DE Durch Schaden wird man klug "Through pity becomes one wise"
SE Av skadan blir man vis. "By damage-the becomes one wise"
Det är lätt att vara efterklok. "It is easy to be "after-wise (=wise afterwards)"
PL Mądry Polak po szkodzie. "Wise Pole after damage"
RU Posle dela za sovetom ne xodjat."After act after (=for) advice they not go."
Zadnim umom krepok "Anterior reason (Instr) [is] strong"
What we are saying is not that all women are the same and all men are the same, but there is some line of behaviour which is common to most men and most women.
Some experts in human relations say that it is not necessary to introduce huge changes in order to adapt ourselves to our partner, some small ones will suffice but it is our fault that we do not want to know about those differences, because we are stubborn and deeply ingrained in our different gender instincts which prevent us from understanding the heart of the matter: to respect our differences. Those differences make us laugh and we do not take them seriously as we should.
It has been emphasized many times during our sessions that we must always look for the key to everything in the brain. The same is in the case of psychological differences between the genders.
A man's brain is single focused whereas a woman's brain is multi-task. Some researchers think that it is due to the fact that a woman's brain has a larger corpus callosum, the nerves connectors between the two hemispheres of the brain and stronger connections between various parts of the brain, gives a woman more multifunctional abilities that may be exercised at the same time.
What does it all mean? It means that she can "record" almost everything at the same time. I was astonished myself when my ex, years after the event, was able to tell me not only what I was wearing at that time, but also what the waitress was wearing and where the guests were sitting and what the restaurant looked like and was able to mention other details. I am absolutely unable to follow a tv film and read something serious at the same time. Many women are able to do that, even 3 things at the same time.
What are the implications of this in stressful situations? Whereas women score more points than men in the previous context, here they suffer more, because they are unable to disconnect when they are under heavy stress. After a stressful day a man comes back home and disconnects easily by switching on tv and watching some trifle programme. It helps him to forget about the problem for a while he has had. A woman is unable to do that, because she is always connected to everything; she behaves like a live wire. Gray says that in this sense woman's work is never done, because she will always have something in her mind that needs doing
A woman misunderstands and downplays the man's reaction to stress, because her instincts tell her that in such a situation what should be done is to switch off the box and talk. So what does she do? She wants to help her partner by asking him questions, by being "helpful", in other words by getting him to speak. But the man will never speak in an off-hand way. He must be prepared to talk, he must know what to say. And in order to do that he has to think everything over on his own first without being disturbed. So he goes to another room, but the woman follows him. She wants to be"nice" to him; she behaves in such a way she would like to be treated by her partner in situations when she is overwhelmed by stress.
A woman, on the other hand is ready to talk right away and off the cuff. She needs a good listener and someone who will constantly ask her questions helping her to give vent to her feelings, because this is what she does when she is overwhelmed. Many a time to a man her monologue is incoherent having sometimes no rhyme or reason, because to him a speech or a monologue must lead to finding possible solutions to the problems. But the woman in such situations does not want solutions. She wants to be listened to, although it is extremely hard for her partner to do that, because his intentions when he has problems are to find solutions and not venting his feelings. This is why he interrupts her "mumbo jumbo" in order to seriously help her, but she does not understand it. And he does not understand that she needs simply to talk expressing her feelings and not finding solutions. So most of these situations end up in an unnecessary argument.
In other words, the genders communicate differently: man uses a rational train of thought that has a clear objective once he is not ready to do that. If he is not, he simply refuses to speak. He is unable to think what he is going to say and talk about it at the same time (do you remember: a single focus) A woman's way is different: she can do it at the same time in spite of being incoherent or inconsistent.
All of this is confirmed by brain researchers. The IPL (Inferior Parietal Lobule) is located just above the ears and the left IPF is more developed in men, which is associated with time and speed and with abilities of 3D environment. In women the right IPF is larger and is associated with the feelings and emotions.
Women have a larger and deeper limbic system (hypothalamus, hippocampus and amygdala, which is the emotional brain centre), which makes thewomen more prone to feelings and emotions that are always present in her mind. In men it is said that amygdala has more connectors to the visual part of the cortex which makes them much more reactive to the visual stimuli than women. This is clearly seen in a different sexual behaviour of the two genders. To be actively involved in a sexual act, men, contrary to women, do not need any psychological approach, only a visual stimuli will do. Nature must have established that, because otherwise the human race would never have been preserved; procreation could not have been hindered by a psychological state of the man.
Psychological differences between the genders also stem from hormonal differences. Recent research into these matters (see the sources below) shows that testosterone, which has not only sexual functions, plays a very important role in lowering stress levels in men. At the same time it helps man in competitive environments where deadlines must be reached, objectives must be achieved, etc. For men achieving certain pre-established goals have always been very important. From the time immemorial, men have always had to carry out their tasks in adverse circumstances, so the body had to adapt itself to those conditions from the very beginning.
In women it has always been oxytocin that helped them to carry on with their tasks that had never anything to do with the competitive world. This hormone is associated with sharing, nurturing, helping, co-operating, caring, etc.
For the last 30-40 years women hve been getting into the man's world of competition, etc. Today nobody doubts that some women are even better professionally prepared than men in certain areas, but few people call our attention to the fact that women are not biologically prepared to carry on working in this competitive world. Is it a coincidence that breast cancer has increased between 10-20 times in the last 40 years?
And nowadays women suffer from depression twice as much as men do.
Obviously not all this must be ascribed to the consequences of the woman's professional work in the man's competitive environment. But it is highly probable that
there is some truth in it. It is not wrong that women want to do their professional career, but they must not forget about nurturing their feminine side producing oxytocin that helps them lower their stress levels, especially in the times where more and more women live alone. Otherwise, sooner or later they will pay a very high price, much higher than up till now.
Last but not least, the role of progesterone and oestrogen is that makes a woman completely different psychologically from a man. Needless to say that women have the unique biological possibility of giving birth to her offspring. The maternity instinct cannot be compared to the paternity instinct if there is something similar in men to her instinct.
All these psychological gender differences have a tremendous bearing on the life of the couple and have far-reaching consequences. It is unbelievable that we could unintentionally keep on ruining each other's lives. Why? Because by sticking to our gender instincts, albeit in good intentions, we unwittingly harm our partners. "Do unto your partner as you would have him/her do unto you is not always valid in heterosexual relations.
A man, for instance, hates unsolicited help, because it lowers his self-esteem, even if the help is suggested in good-will. Women don't understand that because in the female environment of cooperation and caring help is always welcome wherever it comes from; it is the act of good-will, even if it is not solicited. On the other hand, men rarely, and understandably, offer help to their mates, because it is not welcome unless it is explicitly asked for. And the same instinct is used in the heterosexual relations.
How to motivate men to act? To make them understand that they are needed. This is what empowers them to do things. Women, on the other hand, must be cherished. Gray arrives at a conclusion that both genders, although have the same love needs, the priorities are different. Men need to be trusted, accepted as they are and not "brutally" changed by as he calls it "the Home Improvement Committee" and must be appreciated for their achievements. Women, on the other hand need to be cared for, understood and respected. Projecting our hierarchy of needs onto our partner is ridiculous. Women's tendency, as they want to be cared for, is expressed when they sometimes show it exaggeratedly towards men making them look childish. It does not mean that men don't want to be cared for, but they have different priorities that must be attended to first.
And as in a Sérgio Godinho's lyrics "a vida é feita dos pequenos nadas"(life is made of bits of nothingness), we should pay much more attention to them and this is why it is indispensable to be always aware of our gender differences. Understanding those differences first and then practising our new abilities that will require a slight adaptation on our part will make our lives more pleasant, more agreeable and less stressful.
See you on Sunday.
John Gray, an American psychologist, a gender expert and a family therapist.
Intelligence in men and women is a gray and white matter
"The study shows women having more white matter and men more gray matter related to intellectual skill, revealing that no single neuroanatomical structure determines general intelligence and that different types of brain designs are capable of producing equivalent intellectual performance (…)
These findings suggest that human evolution has created two different types of brains designed for equally intelligent behavior," said Richard Haier, professor of psychology.
In general, men have approximately 6.5 times the amount of gray matter related to general intelligence than women, and women have nearly 10 times the amount of white matter related to intelligence than men. Gray matter represents information processing centers in the brain, and white matter represents the networking of – or connections between – these processing centers. (…)"
The Difference Between the Male and Female Brain
"Significant differences exist between the male and female brains. Although what follows has been meticulously gathered from the research and writings of leading scientists and psychologists, it is by no means a hard and fast rule or description of every man and every woman. Every person is different and unique.
However, the facts clearly bear out that for nearly all men and women there are significant differences between the male and female brain. This means that in most cases, men and women do not behave, feel, think, or respond in the same ways, either on the inside or on the outside.
• The male brain is highly specialized, using specific parts of one hemisphere or the other to accomplish specific tasks. The female brain is more diffused and utilizes significant portions of both hemispheres for a variety of tasks.
• Men are able to focus on narrow issues and block out unrelated information and distractions. Women naturally see everyday things from a broader, "big-picture" vantage point.
• Men can narrowly focus their brains on specific tasks or activities for long periods of time without tiring. Women are better equipped to divide their attention among multiple activities or tasks.
• Men are able to separate information, stimulus, emotions, relationships, etc. into separate compartments in their brains, while women tend to link everything together.
• Men see individual issues with parts of their brain, while women look at the holistic or multiple issues with their whole brain (both hemispheres).
• Men have as much as 20 times more testosterone in their systems than do women. This makes men typically more aggressive, dominant and more narrowly focused on the physical aspects of sex.
• In men, the dominant perceptual sense is vision, which is typically not the case with women. All of a woman's senses are, in some respects, more finely tuned than those of a man."
The Many Gendered Hormone
"Prof.Dabbs' team took saliva samples of male fans before and after a televised World Cup soccer match. Mean testosterone levels increased in the fans of winning teams and decreased in fans of losing teams. The conclusion was that testosterone levels rise and fall with experiences of success and failure in social encounters(…)
Feminists become understandably annoyed by the oversimplified, back-to-the-kitchen notion that women don't have the hormonal underpinnings for competition. And plenty of men - masculinists, if you like - are equally annoyed at being dismissed as a bunch of naturally bad-tempered apes." But Blum firmly believes "the connections between body chemistry and behaviour deserve our attention."
Research links oxytocin and socio-sexual behaviors
" (…) E. Taylor, a professor of psychology at the University of California at Los Angeles.
Taylor's theory, based on more than 200 studies by other people, mostly biologists and psychologists, is that women have a powerful system for fighting stress that's based in part on a hormone called oxytocin.
Granted, there's no clear evidence that women on average actually have more oxytocin in their bloodstreams than men. But they do have more of another hormone, estrogen, which does boost the effectiveness of whatever oxytocin is around.
Oxytocin, which some dub the "cuddling" or social attachment hormone, is best known as the hormone produced during childbirth and lactation and during orgasm, in both sexes. But it's also secreted during other forms of pleasant touch, such as massage, and has been shown to stimulate bonding in animals, most notably prairie voles and sheep. (…)
In other words, "there appears to be a counter-regulatory system that may operate more strongly in females than males, that leads to engagement of oxytocin and social contact," which in turn may reduce stress, says Taylor, author of the book, "The Tending Instinct." (…)
Put another way, oxytocin "is associated with typically female behaviors, such as childbirth and nurturing the young, etc".
Married men have less testosterone
"The discovery suggests that having less of the hormone could play a part in encouraging men to devote their energies to the family rather than looking for another partner.(…)
So anthropologist Peter Gray and a team from Harvard University decided to see whether the same happens in men. They measured testosterone in the saliva of 58 men who were either single, married or married with children. In all the men hormone levels fell over the course of the day as part of a natural daily cycle that peaks in the morning.
But the decrease was greater in the married men than in bachelors. "And fathers seem to show an even more dramatic difference from unmarried men," says Gray. "