What are psychological and social similarities and differences between men and women?

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Tamara K. H. eNotes educator| Certified Educator

It has been argued that there are differences in men's and women's communication styles. Women are characterized as more typically using the "consensus-based style" in which one includes and confirms with everyone involved in the decision-making process. Men are characterized as more commonly using the hierarchical style in which one person takes command, makes the decisions, and gives orders. Women are also more likely to talk about their problems, while men tend to stay silent about personal problems. Women are more likely to engage in back-and-forth conversation and ask questions, while men are more likely to give information instead of ask questions. Women use body language to communicate they are listening, like nodding their heads, even if they don't necessarily agree with what's being said. Men typically won't use body language to show they are listening and they only nod their heads to show agreement (Simma Lieberman Associates, "Differences in Male and Female Communication").

It has also been noted that there are physiological differences between men and women that produce cognitive differences. In women's brains, the sections connecting the left and right hemispheres are larger, meaning the corpus callosum and anterior commissures. In men, the sexually dimorphic nucleus located in the hypothalamus region is larger. It has also been shown that increases in estrogen decrease spacial cognitive abilities but also increase speech ability and manual skills. As a result of these physiological differences, we see that there are also differences in the ways that men and women think through problems. For example, men have more spatial awareness; therefore, when needing to imagine an object being rotated, they are able to "visualize the entire object" being moved at once, while women "use a point-by-point feature comparison" (K. Smythe, Bryn Mawr College, "Thinking Differently: Differences Between Men and Women"). When solving problems, women are also more likely to use equations, while men will use logic strategies, like Ven Diagrams. Hence physiological differences explain differences in communication and thought process.

katemihalis | Student

men are more open than women