23 April 2010

Men vs. Women: Stress Brings Out Differences

As noted in an earlier Al Fin posting, men and women react quite differently to stress. The latest studies from the University of Southern California confirm the earlier Polish studies showing gender differences to stress.
New studies by scientists at the University of Southern California have found that while stress may result in a universal physiological "fight or flight response" there are gender differences in psychological and behavioral responses. The new findings suggest stress makes women more social and more aware of facial expressions, while it tends to make men less social.

...In the experiments, Mather and her team split their male and female subjects into two groups. One group was put under stress by being asked to hold one hand in ice water for three minutes, which caused an elevation in the level of the stress hormone cortisol that lasted for about an hour. The other group held their hands in comfortably warm water, which does not elevate cortisol levels. The subjects were then shown pictures of neutral or angry faces while they were lying inside a brain scanner.

The results showed striking gender differences in the brain scans. The men with high cortisol levels showed less brain activity in the fusiform face area (FFA), an area of the brain involved in processing images of faces, than unstressed men did, while the stressed women’s brains were more active in that area than in unstressed women. There were similar differences in the regions of the brain concerned with understanding other people’s emotions and states of mind, and in feeling empathy towards others, with the stressed men showing reduced activity and a disconnection between the regions, and the stressed women showing an increased activity and greater connectivity.

Mather said women tend to seek out, befriend and bond with other people when they are under threat or stress, whereas men generally do not. She said the women's enhanced abilities to gauge facial expressions and respond to them could partly underlie their tend and befriend reaction to stressful situations. _Physorg

When faced with stressful situations, men attempt to analyse the circumstances and devise solutions -- sometimes involving either fight or flight. Women, on the other hand, look for others to assist them with the problem in order to remove the cause of stress.

A woman's approach to stress is clearly more functional in the modern bureaucratic societal structure. Women are working their way higher and higher in bureaucratic structures, and are transforming those structures as they go. Women constitute a higher proportion of graduates in higher education, and make up a majority of many new professionals in a wide variety of professions, such as psychology and pediatrics.

Only in fields where a deep knowledge of mathematics is required, or in fields where a quick intuitive grasp of spatial mechanics is needed, do men maintain a firm grip on the majority of positions.

The male and female brains are different, statistically. Feminists of the dieoff left -- who have achieved control over the bureaucracies of many institutions in western societies -- either deny these difference, or maintain that the differences do not give males any innate advantages. They are wrong, of course, but in a bureaucratic structure, women -- once in power -- will not give up even a nano-fragment of power willingly.

Societies -- like climates -- move in cyclic patterns, of course. There is still a place for men in the world, but the world may have to fall apart a bit in order to make that place obvious again.

More: Similar research from U Penn Philadelphia


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Blogger kurt9 said...

Great picture!

A true instance where a picture is worth a thousand words.

Friday, 23 April, 2010  
Blogger gtg723y said...

Agree about the pic. I chose engineering as a profession for a reason; I don't typically get along with women. They either hate me because I am skinnier than they are, or smarter than they are, or because men seem to prefer my company over theirs (friendship). Don't worry Al, women will never truly rule the world, most of a woman’s behavior is based on gaining male attention, and most female attention getting behavior is very self destructive.

Saturday, 24 April, 2010  

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