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Boy Brains, Girl Brains. Yes, They’re Really Different.

3 ½ min

A few years ago, my church nursery had an influx of little boys, all born within a few months of each other. Nursery duty in the weeks before that cadre outgrew it was, well… energetic.

Everything was visibly quieter when they left. The possibility of some baby suffering a concussion via a toddler wrestling match was replaced with petty squabbles between the next group of up-and-coming youngsters, most of whom were girls. Yes, cat fights exist even among toddlers.

Anyone who worked in the nursery during those years could see firsthand that the male and female sexes are different. Yet while such differences are often attributed to their environment, science increasingly reveals that differences between the sexes can be traced to our brains.

That’s the case made by neuroscientist Lisa Mosconi. In a new book entitled The XX Brain, Mosconi explores some of the biological differences in male and female brains, some of which are present from the point of conception. Three are especially front and center:

1. Visual Differences

One sex is not more visually impaired than the other, yet it can sometimes seem that way in the different things our eyes pick up on. According to Mosconi, “some parts of our brains are ‘sexually dimorphic,’ which means they are built a bit differently from each other depending on gender.” “Men,” she notes “possess more M cells, those cells responsible for movement detection.” Such sensitivity could explain how men might be quicker to pick up on the risk of predators.

Women, on the other hand, “have more P cells, the cells in charge of detecting objects and shapes.” Mosconi raises the question, “Could this explain women’s superior ability to find things in the fridge?”

2. Auditory Differences

The sexes are also different in their hearing abilities. According to Mosconi, “women… generally hear better than men, in part because we have 11 percent more neurons in the primary auditory cortex, the part of the brain that decodes sound.” Abigail James underscores this finding in her book Teaching the Male Brain by noting that girls hear higher and softer sounds, while “boys are better at sound localization.”

3. Emotional Differences

Not surprisingly, the differences in male and female brains relate to how each sex parents. The memory and emotional parts of the brain are more closely connected to the “abstract thinking, planning, and reasoning” part of the brain in women, Mosconi explains.

“As a result, gender differences in brain connectivity are particularly pronounced in the limbic system, the part of the brain that includes the hippocampus [memory] and amygdala [emotional center] mentioned above, and that resonates with the experiences of love and affection, thereby responding to the innumerable factors involved in having a family.”

Discussing these differences in a recent Wall Street Journal article, Dr. Mosconi rejects past medical practices which refused to take biological sex differences into account. This is called “bikini medicine” and implies “that the only things that make… a woman a woman from a biological and medical perspective are the parts of the body we cover under a bikini.” Neurological research, Mosconi implies, tells a completely different story.

This seems to be a scientific fact that many in postmodern society are ignoring. Instead, we practice “bikini medicine” on those who identify as the opposite from their birth sex, arguing that surgical changes in sexual organs will transform them into the opposite sex.

Do we do this at the expense of scientific fact? If even our brains are biologically male and female, are we merely selling ourselves a line when we say that our sex is fluid and can be what ever we feel it should be?


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Annie Holmquist

Annie Holmquist

Annie Holmquist is the editor of Intellectual Takeout. When not writing or editing, she enjoys reading, gardening, and time with family and friends.

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The answer to your questions: Yes. And yes.


But the reality of various differences between the sexes does not mean that all men are this and all women are that and variations do not exist and/or can not be allowed. We get Bell Curves because most are roughly near the middle but those closer to the edges are no less valid. I have two female friends in happy and successful heterosexual, 2 parent families who are not what is typically thought of as maternal. They both understood this about themselves and married men who were more suited to that role. Both wives work because they love their jobs, at which they are both extremely successful, and both men stay with the kids because they're naturally drawn to that. Both women spend significant time everyday with their children, unless they absolutely can't, in which case they FaceTime with them, & love them deeply. Neither husband nor wife questions the idea that they are men and women. Gender Dysphoria is an entirely different thing which is sometimes best dealt with by transitioning. All 4 of my friends love their kids, and their spouses, and have happy and healthy children. Sadly, like chickens, too many people refuse to accept anything that's different, and my friends have taken way too much flack from people far more interested in conformity than results and reality. I read once, "If the terrain doesn't match the map, get a new map, or at least make sure that you're reading it right", and refusing to acknowledge alternative methods which work well is not "reading it right". Our brains may well have varying degrees of what we view as typical male and female characteristics and most people will fit, in varying degrees, into the meaty part of the bell curve but insisting that everyone is within the 49 to 51% mark is the real "line" that people are being sold, as examining societies, both current and throughout history, which acknowledge more than two genders plus at least a century of research on Gender Dysphoria clearly demonstrates.