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Why do most men and women think so differently?

...on serious topics that don't fit anywhere else at present.
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Carja
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Re: Why do most men and women think so differently?

#21 Post by Carja » September 19th, 2010, 11:04 pm

Latest post of the previous page:

I would say that I have pretty much an even number of both men and women in my life as far as friends and relatives are concerned. What I see from that is that we think alike in most things. However, more men commit murder, steal, and are unfaithful than women are. Am I to conclude that women are more honest and honorable than men are because of that? I don't want to think like that. I think that it's not really man vs woman when it comes to what we think and do. It's "some people" think one way and "some people" think another. I know some men who are more emotional than most of the women I know. So we can't blame our thought process on emotions as far as men vs women goes. It comes down to respect that we, as individuals, have for ourselves and others. Saying that men think one way, and women another, becomes an excuse for bad behavior.
Laugh often/love much;leave the world a bit better whether by a healthy child,a garden patch,or a redeemed social condition;play w/enthusiasm & sing w/exultation;know even 1 life has breathed easier because you lived. This is success.B.A.Stanley

Nick
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Re: Why do most men and women think so differently?

#22 Post by Nick » September 19th, 2010, 11:33 pm

Hmmm... Of course we can find find individuals who buck the trend. But I think the different sexes have different tendencies by virtue of their nature, not nurture. For example, I can think of several highly qualified, very accomplished females, (can't work out if I should say women or ladies...), all under 55, one a tax expert (beyond chartered accountant- serious stuff), one a GP, one a government adviser on mental health policy, but all of whom have opted for a 4-day week rather than continue to climb the greasy pole. Off-hand, I can't think of any men whohave doen the same thing. I can think of several men who have 'opted out' of the rat race, usually because of an unwelcome earthquake in their lives, but I think that is different.

This will inevitably skew the comparative earnings of males and females, but that doesn't mean that we should overcome these differences with "equal pay" legislation. Maybe the women have got it right, and chosen a better life for themselves.

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Carja
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Re: Why do most men and women think so differently?

#23 Post by Carja » September 19th, 2010, 11:56 pm

Equal work should mean equal pay for anyone in this country. It shouldn't even be an issue.
Laugh often/love much;leave the world a bit better whether by a healthy child,a garden patch,or a redeemed social condition;play w/enthusiasm & sing w/exultation;know even 1 life has breathed easier because you lived. This is success.B.A.Stanley

Marian
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Re: Why do most men and women think so differently?

#24 Post by Marian » September 20th, 2010, 2:51 am

Gurdur wrote: My sense of humour. Me being sarky/cheeky.
I should have known. :D
Carja wrote: Saying that men think one way, and women another, becomes an excuse for bad behavior.
I think you've got a point here. Not only can it be an excuse for bad behaviour but millions of dollars (or pounds) have been made from capitalizing on the supposed innate differences. ie. Men are from Venus etc.

Nick wrote:For example, I can think of several highly qualified, very accomplished females, all under 55, one a tax expert (beyond chartered accountant- serious stuff), one a GP, one a government adviser on mental health policy, but all of whom have opted for a 4-day week rather than continue to climb the greasy pole. Off-hand, I can't think of any men whohave doen the same thing.
There are lots of reasons why people chose to work a 4 day week but I'm not so sure we can assume that it's necessarily about their gender. You don't mention any other extenuating reasons why these women made their choice. We might assume they could have small children or they live well within their budgets or they've hit a glass ceiling. I know men who have taken parental leave or arranged for flex time so they can be at home possibly with families or just because.
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Dave B
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Re: Why do most men and women think so differently?

#25 Post by Dave B » September 20th, 2010, 10:05 am

Carja wrote:Equal work should mean equal pay for anyone in this country. It shouldn't even be an issue.
Can we change "this country" for "every country" Carja? :wink:
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Carja
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Re: Why do most men and women think so differently?

#26 Post by Carja » September 20th, 2010, 6:16 pm

Dave B wrote:
Carja wrote:Equal work should mean equal pay for anyone in this country. It shouldn't even be an issue.
Can we change "this country" for "every country" Carja? :wink:

Of course. :D
Laugh often/love much;leave the world a bit better whether by a healthy child,a garden patch,or a redeemed social condition;play w/enthusiasm & sing w/exultation;know even 1 life has breathed easier because you lived. This is success.B.A.Stanley

Nick
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Re: Why do most men and women think so differently?

#27 Post by Nick » September 20th, 2010, 7:02 pm

Carja wrote:Equal work should mean equal pay for anyone in this country. It shouldn't even be an issue.
Quite so, Carja, but there will always be differences, partly arising from different perspectives between the sexes, and partly because women are unsurprisingly the principal child carers.

Women are less likely to strive for promotion, less likely to seek higher paid work (other factors may be more important) and more likely to seek the quieter life and so on. In my own industry, nearly all the participants are male, but the few women I come across are very good indeed, as they generally have a much more organised approach to their work than the men, who think brute force will do.

Statistics are a useful tool, but one should always examine them closely so as not to draw the wrong conclusions.

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Dave B
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Re: Why do most men and women think so differently?

#28 Post by Dave B » September 20th, 2010, 7:51 pm

Hmm I think you have hit something there, Nick, "equal pay for equal work" is, I suppose, the full cry. But that supposes work that is as near a equality as two people can make it.

Two gardeners, for e.g., might have similar training and experience but very different physical abilities. Regardless of gender should they be paid the same if they work in the same garden? Complex, role modelling assumes that a male can lift heavier stuff than a woman for longer periods. I know a female archaeologist who could challenge some machinery in smashing concrete paving!
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Emma Woolgatherer
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Re: Why do most men and women think so differently?

#29 Post by Emma Woolgatherer » October 8th, 2010, 11:43 am

I can't believe I missed this thread. Not that I would have felt ready to contribute anyway. I've only just started reading Delusions of Gender: The Real Science Behind Sex Differences, by Cordelia Fine. But the index shows several entries for "corpus callosum", and I thought it might be worth quoting from a couple of pages, even though the thread seems to have changed direction and then died:
The supposedly larger female corpus callosum, a claim built on shaky foundations, in under no less serious dispute. This research has been thoroughly examined and critiqued by Brown University professor of biology Anne Fausto-Sterling who, in Sexing the Body, explains the challenges of establishing the size of a particular structure in the brain. And a meta-analysis conducted by Katherine Bishop and Douglas Wahlsten in 1997 concluded that 'the widespread belief that women have a larger splenium [the posterior portion of the corpus callosum] than men and consequently think differently is untenable.' Summarising this literature in a 2008 review, cognitive neuroscientist Mikkel Wallentin concluded that 'the alleged sex-related corpus callosum size difference is a myth.' The culprit? Look no further than 'the possibility of "discovering" spurious differences when using small sample sizes,' says Wallentin.
... recent studies of brain structure have argued that it is not that women have larger corpora callosa, or a more generous serving of grey matter, relative to brain volume. Rather, it is people with small brains, male or female, who show this quality. As one group put it: 'brain size matters more than sex.'
Emma

Marian
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Re: Why do most men and women think so differently?

#30 Post by Marian » October 8th, 2010, 12:52 pm

Emma Woolgatherer wrote:.. recent studies of brain structure have argued that it is not that women have larger corpora callosa, or a more generous serving of grey matter, relative to brain volume. Rather, it is people with small brains, male or female, who show this quality. As one group put it: 'brain size matters more than sex.'
Speaking of small brain size, can you please clarify this quote? :) I'm having trouble deciphering if they are trying to say that men and women who have small brains have larger corpora callosa or smaller? I plead early morning brain freeze for not getting it. It's before 8am here.
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Emma Woolgatherer
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Re: Why do most men and women think so differently?

#31 Post by Emma Woolgatherer » October 8th, 2010, 2:44 pm

Marian wrote:Speaking of small brain size, can you please clarify this quote? :) I'm having trouble deciphering if they are trying to say that men and women who have small brains have larger corpora callosa or smaller?
Larger, as a proportion of total brain size. Well, that was how I interpreted it. If you have a smaller brain, then a larger proportion of it will be corpus callosum. And because women are smaller, on average, than men, they have smaller brains, on average, than men. But women with larger brains will not have larger corpora callosa proportionally than men with smaller brains.

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Dave B
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Re: Why do most men and women think so differently?

#32 Post by Dave B » October 8th, 2010, 3:01 pm

Emma Woolgatherer wrote:
Marian wrote:Speaking of small brain size, can you please clarify this quote? :) I'm having trouble deciphering if they are trying to say that men and women who have small brains have larger corpora callosa or smaller?
Larger, as a proportion of total brain size. Well, that was how I interpreted it. If you have a smaller brain, then a larger proportion of it will be corpus callosum. And because women are smaller, on average, than men, they have smaller brains, on average, than men. But women with larger brains will not have larger corpora callosa proportionally than men with smaller brains.

Emma
Er, can't quite make up my mind as to whether that made it easier to understand or not, Emma! :D

Sounds like the idea that our brain is actually almost a "colony" of brains, so it would seem that if the corpus collosum remains a fairly constant size regardless of the whole brain size then it is larger in proportion for those with a smaller overall brain?
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Emma Woolgatherer
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Re: Why do most men and women think so differently?

#33 Post by Emma Woolgatherer » October 8th, 2010, 4:08 pm

Dave B wrote:Er, can't quite make up my mind as to whether that made it easier to understand or not, Emma! :D
Oh, dear. Sorry! :sad:
Dave B wrote:Sounds like the idea that our brain is actually almost a "colony" of brains, so it would seem that if the corpus collosum remains a fairly constant size regardless of the whole brain size then it is larger in proportion for those with a smaller overall brain?
I'm not sure what sort of differences are involved here. In rhesus monkeys, the corpus callosum is smaller in females than in males, but the splenium (posterior portion) is larger, and not just proportionally larger. I'm also not sure how ageing affects these figures, because presumably a lot of the brains that have been measured are those of older people, and older people's brains weigh less than those of young adults, and it seems unlikely that the corpus callosum wouldn't shrink too. Anyway, I have found a 1998 paper about brain size and the corpus callosum, and from skimming through I've gleaned that the brain size link is only part of the story, and that the variance in size of the corpus callosum is only partly explained ("no more than 30%") by the "allometric relationship" with forebrain volume. The authors think that it's likely that some of the variance is caused by environmental factors. "Studies of humans have suggested a considerable degree of callosal plasticity during brain development until adulthood possibly induced by environmental stimulation." Sounds reasonable to me. The positive effect of a complex rearing environment on the size of the corpus callosum has also been demonstrated in rhesus monkeys.

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Gottard
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Re: Why do most men and women think so differently?

#34 Post by Gottard » October 8th, 2010, 4:45 pm

:puzzled: Are we sure there is no doctor among us able to "illuminate us"?
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Paolo
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Re: Why do most men and women think so differently?

#35 Post by Paolo » October 12th, 2010, 10:14 am

There are physical differences between sexes, including differences in the structure and/or activity patterns of the brain. But there are physical differences between members of the same sex as well. I'm not sure how useful gender segregation is as a mechanism for understanding the cognitive implications of the different mental physiologies of different people.

When generalising about gender differences in cognitive behaviour the generalisations made tend to be strongly cultural in their formulation, making it hard to pick apart the influences of culture and physiology. That isn't to say that there aren't genuine gender-related differences in thought processes, it's just that those differences may stem from perceived gender roles and experience rather than any innate physical mental infrastructure.

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Paolo
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Re: Why do most men and women think so differently?

#36 Post by Paolo » October 12th, 2010, 10:35 am


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Alan H
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Re: Why do most men and women think so differently?

#37 Post by Alan H » October 12th, 2010, 7:01 pm

Paolo wrote:There are physical differences between sexes, including differences in the structure and/or activity patterns of the brain. But there are physical differences between members of the same sex as well. I'm not sure how useful gender segregation is as a mechanism for understanding the cognitive implications of the different mental physiologies of different people.
I did briefly hear a neuroscientist on Radio 4 last week I think saying there were some differences in the brains of men and women, but nothing significant.
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Re: Why do most men and women think so differently?

#38 Post by Nick » October 12th, 2010, 7:49 pm

How about the influence of testosterone and oxytocin? Why is it that Ed Balls felt the need to stand for the Labour leadership, while his wife, (Mrs Balls, who wisely wishes to be known as Yvette Cooper,) cited her 3 young children as a reason not to stand. Even though, to judge by the result of the shadow cabinet vote, she stood as good a chance as her husband, if not better, of winning? I'm not criticising either of them (unless we are talking economics :wink: ), but I think it is not helpful to science or understanding to ignore such apparent evidence of differences between the sexes.

Please note that there is no "should" in the above paragraph. I'm just suggesting we deal with evidence. I'd prefer Yvette to Ed any day! And maybe we should seek to "overcome" such differences (that's a whole new debate!), but it is unscientific to ignore it.

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