Scanning the Brain for the Key to Intelligence | Germany| News and in-depth reporting from Berlin and beyond | DW | 28.07.2002
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Scanning the Brain for the Key to Intelligence

The latest in a series of reports on the human brain has revealed that men think more efficiently than their female counterparts. It was presented at the 11th European Conference on Personality in Jena.


Brain research is an exciting field for scientists.

Men use their brain more efficiently than women – according to a group of European scientists.

Scientists at the 11th European Conference on Personality, which took place in Jena, Thuringia, last week, called the more efficient use of the brain "neural efficiency".

German scientist Aljoscha Neubauer and his team had examined the brain activity of men and women, looking for an explanation of the differences in intelligence between the sexes.

The research showed that men, when doing complicated mathematical calculations, only used the part of the brain that was explicitly needed to solve the problem. According to Neubauer, this selective use of the brain was not found in their research with women, no matter how intelligent they were.

Dealing with emotion

Earlier this month, researchers from Stanford University came up with a theory to explain why men and women seem to deal with emotion in different ways.

Using scanning technology, the scientists measured the brain activity of a group of men and women who were shown a row of disturbing images.

The scans revealed that exposure to emotionally disturbing images stimulated more areas in women’s brains than in men’s.

It is already known that men have fewer connections betwen the left and right parts of the brain.

As emotion is dealt with in the right side of the brain, and speech in the left, this may explain why men find it more difficult to express their emotions.

Essential for future treatment

Previous research has already revealed that men only listen with half their brain, while women use both sides.

While the new findings may provide further ammunition to living room arguments, they are even more essential for the possible treatment of stroke patients.

Dr. Veena Kumari, senior pyschologist at the Institute of Pyschiatry in London, told the BBC that brain research helped to establish the cause of problems within the brain, which could then lead to treatment.

She said she was not surprised that women used both sides of their brain to listen. "They use both parts of their brain more often for many things. Men have very clearly defined functions".