Ever wonder why stress makes a woman feel sick while it makes men more aggressive? Why a long walk will help him calm down, but you need to refocus, rebalance and breathe? LiveScience.com las covered a University of California, Irvine study published in NeuroImage that may answer these questions. According to the study’s co-authors, men and women do react differently to emotional stimulus – because women’s brains have evolved as the result of dealing with pain!
Here’s the biology: there is an almond-shaped cluster of neurons in the brain that processes experiences like fear and aggression. But it goes two different places. In women these neurons communicate with brain regions that stimulate internal reactions including hormone regulation, heart rate, blood pressure, digestion and respiration. In men, the neurons interact with brain regions that affect what goes on outside the body including the visual cortex and motor actions. In other words, women respond to negativity by turning inward and men by going outward.
“Throughout evolution, women have had to deal with a number of internal stressors, such as childbirth, that men haven’t had to experience,” study co-author Larry Cahill of the University of California Irvine told LiveScience. “What is fascinating about this is the brain seems to have evolved to be in tune with those different stressors.”
According to reports, this finding could help researchers learn more about sex-related differences in anxiety, autism, depression, irritable bowel syndrome, phobias and post-traumatic stress disorder.
Scientists still have to find out if gender also affects the wiring of other regions of the brain according to LiveScience. “It could be that while men and women have basically the same hardware, it’s the software instructions and how they are put to use that makes the sexes seem different.”
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