When it comes to the human brain, researchers agree with what people have long believed — men and women really do think differently. Scientists have identified approximately 100 differences between male and female brains that fall into a few basic categories.
The human brain is made up of material known as gray matter and white matter.
Gray matter is found in localized regions that act to process information and action. White matter acts like a networking grid to connect gray matter regions and other processing areas with each other.
Research shows that male brains use nearly seven times more gray matter while female brains use more white matter.
This may be one reason why men tend to become deeply focused on a specific activity to the point of having tunnel vision, while women seem to transition between tasks more easily.
Men and women also use different parts of the brain when processing some types of information.
For example, women use the cerebral cortex when performing spatial thinking, like navigating while driving a car. Men use a completely different part of the brain known as the left hippocampus to perform the same types of tasks.
Because the hippocampus automatically records spatial information, men are more likely to think in terms of distance and directions to turn east or west. Women more often rely on landmarks as they navigate, such as turning at the corner past a particular drug store.
The chemicals involved in brain function are the same for males and females. But the ratio of these chemicals is often different.
Males tend to have higher levels of testosterone, a male sex hormone, which contributes to physical aggression and impulsiveness.
Women show higher levels of serotonin which, among other things, contributes to the ability to sit still. Women also show higher levels of oxytocin, which helps with bonding and relationship building.
Male and female sex hormones start working in the human brain early in life.