A recent study across a team of Russell group universities provides evidence that women are more intelligent than men, a source from the University of Sheffield’s neuroscience department says. The study was performed on a group of approximately 500 British women and men and came to a quite frankly controversial result.
A previous study on brain damage from the University of Illinois (see further reading) places the intelligence sectors of the brain in the left prefrontal cortex, left parietal cortex and left temporal cortex. These areas are vital to what we define as general intelligence: planning, verbal comprehension and working memory and are the same sections of the brain that were found to be “subtly more pronounced in the female subjects than the males”. Ironically, although not directly mentioned in the study, the researchers working on this were 50% female, a pleasantly surprising statistic for the face of women in science.
Subjects were tested on short and mid-term memory, verbal reasoning, simple mental maths and non-verbal aptitude while under a newly designed brain scanner. The scanner detected the parts of the brain that were the most in use during each activity using thermal and electrical impulse imaging. White matter helps to connect the different sectors of the brain and women are thought to have 10 times as much as men. This could be why women also were found to use both sides of their brains more equally, especially when listening (men predominantly use the left side). Connections are made in the brain via networks of neurons using “electro-chemical signalling” and since women have so much more white matter, it makes some sense that their brains work faster and are better at solving problems due to the improved connectivity within the brains so that more links can be made.
Historically, females have been shown to be more rational and better at spatial leaning, particularly regarding breeding, choosing a mate and place to live, but these traits don’t specifically involve the left side of the brain. As mentioned, women’s brains have been proven to use both the left and right side equally, so why did the “intelligence sector” light up for the women’s brains? Although there is little evidence that brain size affects brain power, the women’s frontal cortex was larger, allowing more space for neural connections to be made. This makes women hardwired to be better problem solvers which was said to be one of the criteria for intelligence according to the report. The hippocampus (the centre of the brain that converts short term memory to long term and helps us to remember details) is also proven to be bigger in women and this also may have had an effect on why women performed better in the memory tests too.
These are just a couple of unexpected physiological differences between male and female brains, none of which were newly founded during this study, but have been stated as possible explanations for the fascinating result. Other possible explanations listed in the discussion of the report are that women, “after being oppressed for so long have begun to evolve slightly faster than men and have done so to compensate for being underestimated in their natural habitat”, which is very unlike the original natural habitat that humans first grew up in where the males were the sole providers for their families and women were nothing but caregivers. The researchers themselves place the result down to the size differences in the intelligence sector and enhanced ability for connections in the female brain, but don’t completely discount the possibility of recent accelerated evolution in women. No matter how much we all evolve, it still comes down to survival of the fittest, and here, it seems, women are truly enduring.
For the study from University of Illinois: http://www.kurzweilai.net/where-is-intelligence-located-in-the-brain
**DISCLAIMER: This was an article written for April Fool’s Day, 2018. The above article was intended for entertainment purposes only and may include completely fabricated facts.**