One thing scientists have in common with 1980s comedians is that they’re always discovering new ways that men and women are different. But when researchers from UCLA were looking at what changing blood pressure does to the brain, they discovered a lot more than a hacky joke. What they found was a specific part of the brain that could be wired completely differently for men and women — and it has nothing to do with how shopping or “that time of the month.”
The study, published in the journal Frontiers In Neurology, had 57 participants raise their blood pressure by blowing through a tube (aka the Valsalva maneuver, which is surprisingly not a dance move). On MRI scans they observed that the front right part of the insular cortex, a part of the cerebral cortex buried below the surface of your brain, was significantly more responsive in men than women. The insular cortex has 5 main parts, but this specific area plays a critical role in how you experience emotions. Scientists don’t know exactly that this means yet, but it probably has something to do with why you can’t watch The Bachelor.
One real hypothesis is that women already experience more psychological stress in this part of the brain and it couldn’t be activated more during the experiment. But the lead author of the study Paul Macey suspects that the reason men and women’s brains work differently has more to do with heart than the head. “This raises several questions for us, such as why is there a difference in brain pattern and might it reflect differences in health issues for men and women, particularly in cardiovascular disease variations,” he said. See, the difference in the sexes is all in your mind — sort of!
[H/T] The Huffington Post