Children and the Brain

As members of the same species, boys and girls are more alike than they are different. In fact there may be greater differences between children within the same gender than between boys and girls. Nevertheless, there are differences that need to be recognized, honored, and understood—insofar as it is possible to do so. Does increased understanding remove the differences? Of course not, but it can reduce a tendency to take things personally or to act upon unrealistic expectations.

It has been said that knowledge is power. When knowledge about differences between boys and girls is practically applied to relationships and daily living, it can often make a huge difference in the life of a specific boy or a specific girl. This may be one of the greatest gifts you can give to the next generation.

 

Girls are less likely to be physically abused by a parent. Boys are more likely to be abused and most likely by the mother. (Gurian, Michael. The Wonder of Boys. NY: Jeremy P. Tarcher/Putnam, 1996, pp 94-96)

In adulthood, 25%-35% of children who were abused, abuse their own children physically or sexually. About 40% of children, who witnessed either parent striking the other, will become spouse beaters. (Diamond, Marian, PhD, and Janet Hopson. Magic Trees of the Mind. NY: A Dutton Book 1998, pp 130-132)

Maltreatment can have enduring effects on a child's developing brain, diminishing growth and reducing activity in key areas. (Teicher, Martin H. Scars That Won't Heal: The Neurobiology of Child Abuse. Article.)

Refer to Trauma and the Brain for additional information.

Women drivers are less likely to have vehicle accidents than male drivers. (Montague, Ashley. The Natural Superiority of Women. NY: Collier Books, a division of Macmillan Publishing Co., Inc., 1952, 1974, pp 131-132)

Young boys learn to value themselves in terms of achievements, successes, and victories. Moods/emotions often become connected to successes or failures. (Goldberg, Herb, PhD. The Hazards of Being Male. NY: Nash Publishing, 1976, pp 123-124)

Girls are less physically active than boys. Some boys are medicated simply because their normal activity levels don’t match those of girls. (Joy, Donald, PhD. The Innate Differences Between Males & Females (Audio Cassette). CO: Focus on the Family, 1967)

Refer to Dysfunctions of the Brain and to Substances and the Brain (Dopamine) for additional information.

According to Dr. Orzack, a licensed clinical psychologist, founder and coordinator of McLean Hospital’s Computer Addiction Service and a member of the Harvard Medical school faculty, psychological and physical symptoms associated with addiction to computer/video games/internet use may include the following:

Psychological Symptoms

  • Having a sense of well-being or euphoria while at the computer
  • Inability to stop the activity
  • Craving more and more time at the computer
  • Neglect of family and friends
  • Feeling empty, depressed, irritable when not at the computer
  • Lying to employers and family about activities
  • Problems with school or job

Physical Symptoms

  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Dry eyes
  • Migraine headaches
  • Backaches
  • Eating irregularities, such as skipping meals
  • Failure to attend to personal hygiene
  • Sleep disturbances, change in sleep pattern

(Orzack, Maressa Hecht, PhD)

Refer to Addiction and the Brain for additional infrmation.

Two studies have linked ADHD with a deficiency in dopamine in the brain. This may be one reason for higher risk for substance abuse in people with ADHD as they attempt to self-medicate their brains. (Amen, Daniel, MD. The Brain in the News, Amen Clinic Newsletter. August, 2007. Website.)

Scientists have found that the major malfunction in children suffering from hyperactivity is their frontal lobes seem to be tuned down, so they have difficulty controlling their behavior as well as tenacity of endeavor. (Blaylock, Russell L., MD. Excitotoxins, the Taste that Kills. p 4-5. NM:Health Press, 1997)

Girls tend to do better on tests involving aesthetic response to color, shape, and discrimination in pictures than boys. (Montague, Ashley. The Natural Superiority of Women. NY: Collier Books, a division of Macmillan Publishing Co., Inc., 1952, 1974, pp 126-127)

Suggests starting boys at school a year later (when language development in boys is about equal to those of girls a year younger) so boys would feel better about themselves. (Pease, Barbara and Allan. Why Men Don’t Listen and Women Can’t Read Maps. NY: Broadway Books, 1998, p 72)

Recommends starting boys in school one year later than for comparable girls due to differences in brain function and physiology. (Joy, Donald, PhD. The Innate Differences Between Males & Females (Audio Cassette). CO: Focus on the Family, 1967)

Boys and men are moe aggressive than girls and women in several contexts. This sex difference is also seen in many cultures. (Hines, Melissa, PhD. Brain Gender. p 16-18. NY: Oxford University Press, 2004.)

The male brain is built for aggression (e.g., related to testosterone levels). This is not true for violence. Violence is taught and learned. (Gurian, Michael. The Wonder of Boys. NY: Jeremy P. Tarcher/Putnam, 1996, pp 6-8)

Exposure to alcohol and drugs do not help the teenage brain. For many reasons, including the fact that the teen brain is changing at such a rapid pace, new experiences that are pleasurable (e.g., music) very quickly become habits. Thus the teen will become addicted to substances much more easily than an adult will. Alcohol and drugs cause a Swiss cheese like change in the brain, so that some areas function normally, and others, like the holes in the cheese, under-function to a large degree. This change occurs throughout the brain, but the pre-frontal cortex is markedly affected, where they are most undeveloped. (https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/health-matters/201006/the-teenagers-brain)

Boys of age 12 and younger tend to be better than girls of the same age at analytic reasoning. A contributor may be teachers who give individualized instruction to boys more frequently than to girls. (Stump, Jane Barr, PhD. What’s the Difference? How Men and Women Compare. NY: William Morrow and Company, Inc., 1985, p 22)

Although boys and girls are born anatomically different with different psychological inclinations (on average) neither is biologically superior to the other overall. (Wilson, Glenn. The Great Sex Divide. England: Peter Owen Publishers, 1989, pp 39-40)

Genetic males (e.g., body organs appear to be largely insensitive to effects of male hormones) appear to be female with well-developed breasts. They often aren’t recognized as male until menstruation fails to appear during adolescence. (Wilson, Glenn. The Great Sex Divide. England: Peter Owen Publishers, 1989, pp 74-75)

Genetic (XX) females whose adrenal glands secrete too much androgen are usually treated as girls from birth but tend to display tomboy characteristics (e.g., preference for male clothes/hair-styles/games; assertive, ambitious, lack of interest in marriage/maternal roles). (Wilson, Glenn. The Great Sex Divide. England: Peter Owen Publishers, 1989, pp 32-34)

Teenage girls whose mothers took male hormones during pregnancy tend to perform better in academia than other girls. They are likely to be less feminine and have more body hair. (Pease, Barbara and Allan. Why Men Don’t Listen and Women Can’t Read Maps. NY: Broadway Books, 1998, pp 158-160)

Definition: Behavior that is determined by what is appropriate and effective rather than by what is stereotypical for males or females. Study: both male and female workers endorsed stereotypical masculine behaviors for boys and androgynous behaviors for girls. (Stump, Jane Barr, PhD. What’s the Difference? How Men and Women Compare. NY: William Morrow and Company, Inc., 1985, p 22)

Boys are more satisfied with the way they look, with their appearance, than are girls. (Blum, Deborah. Sex on the Brain. NY: Penguin Books, 1997, pp 211-213)

The biology of attachment points to the first two (2) years of life as crucial. Depriving a baby of sensitive nurturing can result in negative outcomes in terms of emotional and cognitive development. (Karr-Morse, Robin, and Meredith S. Wiley. Ghosts from the Nursery. NY: Atlantic Monthly Press, 1997, pp 194-206, 212)

Both sexes have a desire for attention but girls want male attention to lead to dates, going steady, or other symbols of her primary fantasy; while boys want female attention for physical intimacy. (Farrell, Warren, PhD. Why Men Are the Way They Are. NY: Berkley Book, 1986, 1988, p 116)

Study: the mothers of boys gave younger ages (to cross street alone) than the mothers of girls, despite the fact that girls mature earlier and are less impulsive. (Conway, Jim and Sally. Women In Midlife Crisis. IL: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., 1971, pp 204-208)

Typically boys are louder, more physically aggressive, and more likely to engage in attention-getting devices than girls. As a result, more teacher attention is given to the boys. (Gurian, Michael, PhD, and Patricia Henley, with Terry Trueman. Boys and Girls Learn Differently! CA: Jossey-Bass, 2001, pp 54-56)

Lists a variety of impossible binds that place males in no-win situations, usually related to socialization and conditioning. (Goldberg, Herb, PhD. The Hazards of Being Male. NY: Nash Publishing, 1976, pp 96-106)

Males are about 5% heavier but 4-6 weeks behind female babies in physical maturity at birth. They respond to what is visually interesting and are drawn to objects more than people. (Tanenbaum, Joe. Male & Female Realities, Understanding the Opposite Sex. Nevada: Robert Erdmann Publishing, 1990, pp 31, 37)

140 males are conceived for every 100 females but the XY unit is more fragile: only 105 boys are born for every 100 girls. (Ornstein, Robert. The Roots of the Self. NY: HarperCollins Publishing, 1995, p 27)

Approximately 125 male fetuses are conceived for every 100 female fetuses. 105 baby boys are born for every 100 baby girls. 33% more boys than girls die in the first year of life. (Weiss, Daniel Evan. Great Divide: How Females and Males Really Differ. NY: Poseidon Press, 1991, p 16)

About 105 males are conceived for every 100 females. Approximately 115 male fetal deaths for every 100 female fetal deaths. (Goldberg, Herb, PhD. The Hazards of Being Male. NY: Nash Publishing, 1976, pp 179-180)

120-140 males are conceived for every 100 females. There are 106 male births for every 100 female births. (Tanenbaum, Joe. Male & Female Realities, Understanding the Opposite Sex. Nevada: Robert Erdmann Publishing, 1990, pp 30-31)

Between 130-150 males are conceived for every 100 females. About 105 boys are born for every 100 girls. About age 20 there are only 98 males per 100 females. Among those 65 and older, just 68 men survive for every 100 women. (U.S. NEWS & WORLD REPORT. August 8, 1988, p 52)

107-124 males are conceived for every 100 females, but only 106 boys are actually born for every 100 girls. More males die at every age. By age 35 there are roughly the same number of each gender alive. (Nicholson, John. Men and Woman: How Different Are They? NY: Oxford University Press, 1984, p 45)

Males may become impulsive, become depressed or feel low, or get the jitters when experiencing a blood sugar low (e.g., after eating sugary foods). Females may become withdrawn and distracted. (Gurian, Michael, PhD, and Patricia Henley, with Terry Trueman. Boys and Girls Learn Differently! CA: Jossey-Bass, 2001, pp 86-88)

Boys form bonds through physical pain (e.g., wrestling, fighting, tests of strength). Girls form bonds through emotional pain (e.g., sharing secrets and sorrows). (Tanenbaum, Joe. Male & Female Realities, Understanding the Opposite Sex. Nevada: Robert Erdmann Publishing, 1990, p 24)

A girl’s social life usually centers around a best friend. Friendships are made, maintained, and broken through conversation, especially sharing secrets. (Tannen, Deborah. PhD. That’s Not What I Meant. New York: Ballantine Books, 1986, p 135)

Girls try to manage social bonds in a group situation through egalitarian alliances; boys through striving for dominance or pecking order. (Gurian, Michael, PhD, and Patricia Henley, with Terry Trueman. Boys and Girls Learn Differently! CA: Jossey-Bass, 2001, p 28)

Study: 2 times as many references to boy or girl as to child or children (words that do not designate sex), 7 times as many men as women, and 2 times as many boys as girls. (Moir, Anne, and David Jessel. Brain Sex, the Real Difference Between Men & Women. NY: Carol Publishing Group, 1989, 1991, pp 112-115)

Girls are better at self-managing boredom. Boys tend to get bored more easily. This has a profound impact on all aspects of learning. (Gurian, Michael, PhD, and Patricia Henley, with Terry Trueman. Boys and Girls Learn Differently! CA: Jossey-Bass, 2001, p 46)

The human brain has some level of "hardwiring" at birth but much of it is unfinished. It is shaped by its life experience so takes much longer than members of the animal kingdom) as the wiring allows it to adapt to details in life around it. Two million synapses or connections are formed every second in an infant’s brain and by age two there are double the number of synapses compared to an adult brain. During the maturation process half of these synapses will be pruned based on whether they are used or not. Who you are is based on what is pruned. (Eagleman, David. The Brain, P 7-10.NY: Pantheon Books, 2015.)

The brain is the last organ of the body to become anatomically mature. Early on children are very open and imaginative. Two brain-growth stages changes this:

  1. The five-to-seven shift when emotional circuitry comes under stronger prefrontal control
  2. At puberty when the brain goes through radical sculpting

(Goleman, Daniel. The Brain and Emotional Intelligence: New Insights.p 71-73. MA: More Than Sound, 2011)

Analogy: the male brain turns on to do a task and then turns off; the female brain is always on. (Gurian, Michael. The Wonder of Boys. NY: Jeremy P. Tarcher/Putnam, 1996, pp 14-16)

Boys show earlier right hemisphere development. The hemispheres are more specialized/lateralized. Boys typically have more confidence in their math abilities. (Brynie, Faith Hickman. 101 Questions Your Brain has Asked About Itself but Couldn’t Answer Until Now. CT: Millbrook Press, 1998, p 115)

Boy’s brain is about 10% larger than a girl’s brain. Girl’s corpus callosum (connecting fibers between cerebral hemispheres) is larger than a boy’s. (Gurian, Michael. The Wonder of Boys. NY: Jeremy P. Tarcher/Putnam, 1996, pp 12-14)

Baby girls are more sensitive to touch, more responsive to light, have a keener sense of smell, are less fretful, smile more, eat less, and control their bladders/bowels earlier, and undergo different development of the nervous system. (Tanenbaum, Joe. Male & Female Realities, Understanding the Opposite Sex. NV: Robert Erdmann Publishing, 1990, pp 31, 34, 38)

Brain development is a spectrum. Mainly girls lean toward a female brain and boys toward a male brain, but some boys are at the female end and some girls at the male. There are also bi-gender brains that possess nearly equal qualities of both male and female brains. (Gurian, Michael, PhD, and Patricia Henley, with Terry Trueman. Boys and Girls Learn Differently! CA: Jossey-Bass, 2001, pp 16-17)

Girls have 10% more neurons in a specific portion of the temporal lobe, and the cells are stacked closer together in the second and sixth layers. (Brynie, Faith Hickman. 101 Questions Your Brain has Asked About Itself but Couldn’t Answer Until Now. CT: Millbrook Press, 1998, p 115)

Female brain has greater functioning in memory and sensory intake. Male brain has greater functioning in spatial tasks and abstract reasoning. (Gurian, Michael, PhD, and Patricia Henley, with Terry Trueman. Boys and Girls Learn Differently! CA: Jossey-Bass, 2001, p 30)

Brains undergo a massive reorganization between their 12th and 25th years. The brain doesn't actually grow very much during this period. It has already reached 90 percent of its full size by the time a person is six, and a thickening skull accounts for most head growth afterward. Through adolescence, the brain undergoes extensive remodeling, resembling a network and wiring upgrade. For starters, the brain's axons—the long nerve fibers that neurons use to send signals to other neurons—become gradually more insulated with a fatty substance called myelin (the brain's white matter), eventually boosting the axons' transmission speed up to a hundred times. [https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/health-matters/201006/the-teenagers-brain]

Study: Children between the ages of 2.5 and 5 years already showed clear inclinations to be either verbalizers or visualizers. (Healy, Jane M., PhD. Your Child’s Growing Mind. NY: Doubleday, 1987, 1989, p 335)

Sugary starchy foods should be avoided in school as they make the brain groggy. High-fiber food, protein, yogurt, soy milk (better than cow’s milk) help the child to stay awake and promote brain cell growth. (Gurian, Michael, PhD, and Patricia Henley, with Terry Trueman. Boys and Girls Learn Differently! CA: Jossey-Bass, 2001, pp 86-89)

Children appear to prefer their natural mothers as caregivers. Even when fathers are more closely involved mothers were none the less measurably much closer to the children. (Moir, Anne, and David Jessel. Brain Sex, the Real Difference Between Men & Women. NY: Carol Publishing Group, 1989, 1991, pp 141-142)

Studies on children of working mothers (e.g., daughters have higher career aspirations, more often choose careers in male-dominated fields, and are less inclined to discriminate between masculine and feminine roles. (Shaevitz, Marjorie Hansen. The Superwoman Syndrome. NY: Warner Books, 1984, pp 88-107)

Castration studies: male brains are pre-set during development so that only a small amount of androgen is needed to activate status-related aggression in adulthood. (Wilson, Glenn. The Great Sex Divide. England: Peter Owen Publishers, 1989, pp 118-119)

The brain is susceptible to inattentional blindness change blindness or selective looking, as it is called. This was demonstrated in a study by Daniel Simons and Christopher Chabris of Harvard. A person in a gorilla suit walked into the center of a ball game and half of the observers watching the video did not notice the gorilla. The brain selects the least amount of information necessary to effectively respond to a situation, which is especially useful in emergencies. Sometimes it overlooks crucial information, however, which may help to explain the reason that teenagers are so prone to accidents. (Simons, D.M., and C. F. Chabris. “Gorillas in our midst.” Perception 28: 1059-1074. 1999)

Mothers with one or more children under age 5 spend an average of 17 hours a week on child care. Fathers average 5 hours per week. Mothers with one or more children age 5 or over spend an average of 6 hours a week on child care. Fathers average 2 hours per week. (Weiss, Daniel Evan. Great Divide: How Females and Males Really Differ. NY: Poseidon Press, 1991, p 28)

Known by a plethora of other names, this is not a “game.” It is a highly dangerous activity used to alter one’s state of consciousness. The goal is to achieve a euphoric state by stopping the flow of oxygen-containing blood to the brain temporarily. Permanent injury and/or death can result. Victims are typically juvenile males. You can find additional information at the following website.

Some individuals have only one sex chromosome (e.g., XXX, XO) and are typically raised as girls; and some have three (e.g., XXY, XYY) and are typically raised as boys. (Durden-Smith, Jo, and Diane deSimone. Sex and the Brain. NY: Arbor House Publishing, 1983, pp 70-80)

A newborn barely has a sense of depth perception. The sense of color is poorly developed and the ability to focus is extraordinarily imprecise. Most nerve cells have not developed the myelin sheaths that are necessary for neural transmission. By the age of three months, however, the visual system has changed dramatically. (Newberg, Andrew, MD and Mark Robert Waldman. Why We Believe What We Believe. P 64-65. NY: Free Press, 2006)

Human beings distinguish sounds that are essential to communication by listening to the music of speech (e.g., pitch, inflection, lilt, cadence of a person’s words). Females have a biological edge in this area. (Fisher, Helen, PhD. The First Sex. NY: Random House, 1999, p 60)

Babies initially use a communication system (body language) that all social animals use. Gradually babies learn to lean more heavily on the spoken word, while dogs, cats, and horses will continue to rely on body language. Although capable of learning verbal commands (a foreign language for them) dogs normally communicate through body language and facial expression and are attuned to reading these in their owners. Hungarian studies showed that dogs are receptive to human communication in a manner that was previously attributed only to 6-month-old human infants. (Source)

Refer to Testosterone (below) and to Substances and the Brain for additional information.

Young children can form categories for concrete objects, but they have enormous difficulties with abstract concepts like freedom, fairness, or God. (Newberg, Andrew, MD and Mark Robert Waldman. Why We Believe What We Believe. P 76-80. NY: Free Press, 2006)

Studies of hypothetical conflict situations: 69% of males chose physical or verbal aggression; 69% of females chose either to remove themselves from the situation or to cope by other nonaggressive means. (Moir, Anne, and David Jessel. Brain Sex, the Real Difference Between Men & Women. NY: Carol Publishing Group, 1989, 1991, p 82)

If conflict occurs during play, girls will stop the game, ignore or change rules, make exceptions, try to persuade, appeal to reason, and almost never resort to force. Boys invoke rules, focus on the score, interrupt, give orders, and fight to win. (Fisher, Helen, PhD. The First Sex. NY: Random House, 1999, pp 30-35)

Boys have superior hand-eye co-ordination. This ability is needed for all types of ball sports. (Moir, Anne, and David Jessel. Brain Sex, the Real. NY: Carol Publishing Group, 1989, 1991, p 16)

Outlines a variety of brain gender differences in a four-part table (e.g., Corpus callosum; connects two hemispheres of the brain; larger in females; helps females better coordinate the hemispheres). (Gurian, Michael, PhD, and Patricia Henley, with Terry Trueman. Boys and Girls Learn Differently! CA: Jossey-Bass, 2001, pp 20-26)

A much larger corpus callosum in the female brain can enable females to more easily reconcile conflicting interpretations sometimes offered by each hemisphere. (Johnson, Steven. Mind Wide Open. NY: Scribner, 2004, pp 36-38)

By one week of age, a baby girl can distinguish the cry of another baby from a background of general noise of similar volume. Baby boys cannot. (Moir, Anne, and David Jessel. Brain Sex, the Real Difference Between Men & Women. NY: Carol Publishing Group, 1989, 1991, pp 56-57)

Both parents teach male babies to perform rather than cry by picking them up less frequently. By the age of 13 months, male infants who are picked up less are already more likely to refrain from crying. (Warren Farrell, Warren, PhD. Why Men Are the Way They Are. NY: Berkley Book, 1988, pp 113, 350)

Boy babies are slightly more restless, sleep less, and cry more. (Nicholson, John. Men and Woman: How Different Are They? NY: Oxford University Press, 1984, pp 17-19)

Boy babies cry more often, are more fearful and more irritable, eat more, smile, and develop bowel and bladder control later than girls. (Stump, Jane Barr, PhD. What’s the Difference? NY: William Morrow and Company, Inc., 1985, p 137)

Crying, urinating, sweating, and exhaling remove impurities from our body. The results of not crying (e.g., males) are now well documented. (Warren Farrell, Warren, PhD. Why Men are the Way They Are. NY: Berkley Book, 1988, pp 113, 350)

Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio Study: Now in addition to “cutting” (troubled teens deliberately cut/burn their skin or break a bone), some are now leaving sharp metal / other objects in their bodies. Radiologists say this is the first study to report on "self-embedding disorder." (USA Today Staff. Self-embedding disorder': When teens insert objects into their bodies. 2008. Article.)

Portions of the brain related to independent capabilities tend not to develop when children are not permitted to make decisions, or are punished when they attempt to do so. (Diamond, Marian, PhD, and Janet Hopson. Magic Trees of the Mind. NY: A Dutton Book 1998, pp 128-129)

All fetuses develop along female lines unless there are hormonal instructions to alter the individual toward masculinity. There are degrees of maleness. Even with typical male chromosomes (XY) masculinization may be incomplete. (Wilson, Glenn. The Great Sex Divide. England: Peter Owen Publishers, 1989, pp 73-74)

Each human brain is on its own unique timetable for development. Completely normal development can differ by a spread of three years between learners. (Jensen, Eric. Brain-Based Learning (Revised). CA: The Brain Store, 2005, p 15)

Children develop according to their own developmental timetables. By age six, teachers may expect up to two years’ difference in maturation among their students. The bright child is not necessarily “on the fastest train.” Underachievement may simply reflect an incongruity between the child’s timetable and expectations of others. (Healy, Jane M., PhD. Your Child’s Growing Mind. NY: Doubleday, 1987, p 70)

Children’s anxiety is increased by images of a punitive authoritarian God (Christian and Muslim children alike). (Newberg, Andrew, MD, and Mark Robert Waldman. How God Changes Your Brain—Breakthrough Findings from a Leading Neuroscientist. p 135-137. NY: Ballantine Books, 2009.)

Refer to Male-Female Differences for additional information.

Lists developmental gender differences in table format from prebirth through High School (excellent reference). (Gurian, Michael, PhD, and Patricia Henley, with Terry Trueman. Boys and Girls Learn Differently! CA: Jossey-Bass, 2001, pp 34-38)

Studies of children disciplined with belt/hand by high-punishment parents: As adults the males were politically conservative and believed in military force and capital punishment. As adults, the females became politically liberal. (Blum, Deborah. Sex on the Brain. NY: Penguin Books, 1997, pp 76-79)

Boys have more difficulty coping with parents’ marital breakup. Effects are more intense and last longer (e.g., lowered scholastic achievement, depression, anger, diminished self-esteem, increased drug/alcohol use). (Viorst, Judith. Necessary Losses. NY: Simon & Schuster, 1986, pp 110-112)

When drawing, girls tend to include more detail in the drawings than boys include. (Montague, Ashley. The Natural Superiority of Women. NY: Collier Books, a division of Macmillan Publishing Co., Inc., 1952, 1974, pp 126-127)

Girls are 3 times less likely to exhibit dyslexia as compared to boys. (Fisher, Helen, PhD. The First Sex. NY: Random House, 1999, p 58)

Refer to Emotions and the Brain for additional information.

Boys move more emotive material down from the limbic system to the brain stem where fight-or-flight responses are stored. Girls move more emotive material upward to the cerebrum where complex thought occurs. (Gurian, Michael, PhD, and Patricia Henley, with Terry Trueman. Boys and Girls Learn Differently! CA: Jossey-Bass, 2001, p 29)

Girls tend to have so many emotive functions that they can become overwhelmed by emotional material. Boys have fewer brain functions available to process emotion. (Gurian, Michael, PhD, and Patricia Henley, with Terry Trueman. Boys and Girls Learn Differently! CA: Jossey-Bass, 2001, pp 31-33)

Study: 2000 children grades 3-12. Both genders revealed contempt for the female gender. Beyond grade school no boys envied girls, but girls continued to envy boys. (Viorst, Judith. Necessary Losses. NY: Simon & Schuster, 1986, pp 126-128)

Study: At some time about 4 out of 5 girls want to be boys, whereas less than 1 out of 2 boys wish they could be girls. (Eakins, Barbara Westbrook, and R. Gene Eakins. Sex Differences in Human Communication. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co., 1978, p 8)

Researchers asked kindergarten children if they would like to have been born into the opposite sex: 1 in 5 girls were ready to change while none of the boys showed any enthusiasm for the idea. (Nicholson, John. Men and Woman: How Different are They? NY: Oxford University Press, 1984, p 105)

Refer to Cellular Memory (Epigenetics) for additional information.

Describes a view (in contrast to social learning theory) that differences (e.g., brain) would manifest themselves in instincts and emotions leading to behavior that would ensure the survival of his/her genes to the next generation. (Wilson, Glenn. The Great Sex Divide. England: Peter Owen Publishers, 1989, pp 18-20)

Studies: males have better eye-hand coordination and are usually more proficient at sports that involve throwing, chasing, shooting at a target, or estimating coordinates (e.g., video games, pinball, skateboarding). (Pease, Barbara and Allan. Why Men Don’t Listen and Women Can’t Read Maps. NY: Broadway Books, 1998, pp 105-106)

Baby boys are awake more, display more facial grimacing, and engage in more movement (than girls). (Stump, Jane Barr, PhD. What’s the Difference? NY: William Morrow and Company, Inc., 1985, p 104)

Boys and girls ages 8-11 use different portions of their brains to recognize faces and expressions. Boys use more of their right hemisphere while girls use more of their left. (Pease, Barbara and Allan. Why Men Don’t Have a clue and Women Always Need More Shoes. NY: Broadway Books, 2004, pp 261-262)

By four months of age, most baby girls can distinguish photographs of people they know from photographs of strangers. Boys usually cannot. (Moir, Anne, and David Jessel. Brain Sex, the Real Difference Between Men & Women. NY: Carol Publishing Group, 1989, 1991, p 56)

Most children have the neural capacity (by the age of five) to distinguish between reality and fantasy (e.g., Santa Claus, Easter bunny, fairy tales). Easter bunny study found that in families where parents discouraged such beliefs, 47% of children continued to believe the Easter bunny was real. In families that encouraged such beliefs, 23 percent of children chose to disbelieve. (Prentice, N.M., et al. “Imaginary figures of early childhood.” American Journal of Orthopsychiatry. 48(4): 618-628)

Though fathers typically assume less routine caregiving, they can make striking differences in the child’s course of development. These differences show up early and are sustained through preschool. (Karr-Morse, Robin, and Meredith S. Wiley. Ghosts from the Nursery. NY: Atlantic Monthly Press, 1997, pp 238-239)

The human brain is approximately 60% fat. Fatty acids (e.g., DHS, EPA, omega-3) are needed to build nerve endings. Some psychiatric and neurological disorders are linked to lack of omega-3 (e.g., depression—more girls, ADHD—more boys, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia). (Gurian, Michael, PhD, and Patricia Henley, with Terry Trueman. Boys and Girls Learn Differently! CA: Jossey-Bass, 2001, pp 86-89)

Researchers observing children find no difference in timidity between the sexes. However, girls are socialized that to be feminine is fearful and boys learn it would be unmanly to own up to fears. (Nicholson, John. Men and Woman: How Different are They? NY: Oxford University Press, 1984, p 55)

Boys are socialized to handle feelings differently from girls (e.g., encouraged not to cry. (Gurian, Michael. From Boys to Men. NY: Price Stern Sloan, Inc, 1999, pp 40-46)

Refer to Emotions and the Brain for additional information.

Boys raised primarily by women often learn to suppress some very normal male behavior because it is frowned upon by women. As adults they know how to please women but may not know what it takes to please themselves, and usually lack close male friends. (Tanenbaum, Joe. Male & Female Realities, Understanding the Opposite Sex. Robert Erdmann Publishing, 1990, pp 25-26)

Physical freedom to explore one’s environment develops spatial-visual skills that are important in math, problem-solving, and ability to think for oneself. Innate skills are equal in boys and girls until about age 8, when girls typically face more physical restrictions and are very different by adolescence. (Steinem, Gloria. Revolution From Within. MA: Little, Brown, & Co., 1992, pp 204-205)

By age 13 boys tend to respond physically, while girls respond with words or silence. (Blum, Deborah. Sex on the Brain. NY: Penguin Books, 1997, pp 80-81)

Studies: Parents seem to have higher expectations for the daughter who is their firstborn. The only way to ensure that a daughter will have the same advantage a son is for her to be the firstborn. (Brothers, Joyce, PhD. What Every Woman Should Know About Men. NY: Ballantine Books 1981, pp 40-45)

Girls tend to learn foreign languages faster and easier and are better at spelling, grammar, and punctuation (due to specific brain zones for speech that are located in both hemispheres). (Pease, Barbara and Allan. Why Men Don’t Listen and Women Can’t Read Maps. NY: Broadway Books, 1998, pp 74-76)

Children find it more difficult to resist their impulses (have less free will than adults) because they have yet to learn self-control strategies and because the prefrontal lobes are very slow to mature (e.g., in the twenties). Until then the limbic system is the stronger force. (Carter, Rita, Ed. Mapping the Mind. CA: University of California Press, 1998, p 197)

Extensive research by Altemeyer and Hunsberger showed that children who grow up in fundamentalist families do tend to obey the authorities and follow rules. However, they also tend to be self-righteous, prejudicial, and condemnatory toward people outside their group. They tend to develop an "us versus them" mentality that many maintain throughout life. Fundamentalist congregations tend to experience a 50 percent dropout rate among members. (Altemeyer, B., and B. Hunsberger. “Fundamentalism and authoritarianism” Handbook of the Psychology of Religion and Spirituality. NY: Guilford, 2005)

More boys (than girls) want competitive games with real winners. (Blum, Deborah. Sex on the Brain. NY: Penguin Books, 1997, pp 75-77)

During gestation the brain is set up for gender. Differences are most noticeable after puberty when the brain becomes fully activated as a result of being bathed in hormones. (Howard, Pierce J., PhD. The Owner’s Manual for the Brain. GA: Bard Press, 1994, 2000, pp 215-221)

The biological factor determining gender is not the chromosome pattern but the balance of hormones to which the body and brain is exposed from conception onwards. (Wilson, Glenn. The Great Sex Divide. England: Peter Owen Publishers, 1989, pp 76-77)

Provides information on brain gender differences in list format (e.g., the part of the brain, function, similarities and differences, and impact). Excellent summary. (Gurian, Michael, PhD, and Patricia Henley, with Terry Trueman. Boys and Girls Learn Differently! CA: Jossey-Bass, 2001, pp 20-26)

Girls tend to sit, crawl, walk, and talk earlier. Bone ossification and dental maturity are achieved earlier. Baby girls smile more, eat less, control their bladders and bowels earlier, respond to people in their environment, and find faces more interesting than objects. (Tanenbaum, Joe. Male & Female Realities. NV: Robert Erdmann Publishing, 1990, pp 31, 34, 38)

Baby girls smile more often and are more sensitive to skin contact, (Nicholson, John. Men and Woman: How Different Are They? NY: Oxford University Press, 1984, pp 10-11)

Girl babies are more responsive to touch and light, have a keener sense of smell, are less fearful, less irritable, eat less, smile more, develop bladder and bowel control earlier, are more aware of their mother’s presence earlier, prefer a face to a toy, and vocalize more. (Stump, Jane Barr, PhD. What’s the Difference? NY: William Morrow and Company, Inc., 1985, pp 137, 186)

Study: children were given a supply of bitter-tasting biscuits and offered a small cash reward for every biscuit they could persuade another child to eat. Boys and girls were equally successful: boys tended to favor coercion, threats, or telling blatant lies; girls tended to offer a bribe (e.g., money) or relied on winsome soft-selling techniques. (Nicholson, John. Men and Woman: How Different Are They? NY: Oxford University Press, 1984, p 172)

Children’s anxiety is increased by images of a punitive authoritarian God (Christian and Muslim children alike). (Newberg, Andrew, MD, and Mark Robert Waldman. How God Changes Your Brain—Breakthrough Findings from a Leading Neuroscientist. p 135-137. NY: Ballantine Books, 2009.)

The age at which growth spurt (and puberty) begins can vary considerably but usually starts first in girls (e.g., begins about age 11 and ceases at about age 15.5). In boys it may begin as early as 10.5 years or as late as 16. (Nicholson, John. Men and Woman: How Different Are They? NY: Oxford University Press, 1984, pp 29-30)

Girls and women tend to hear better than men. (Moir, Anne, and David Jessel. Brain Sex. NY: Carol Publishing Group, 1989, 1991, pp 16-17)

Ear canals in boys undergo growth spurts that can cause a temporary form of deafness, particularly as they approach puberty. They are equipped for more effective seeing than hearing. (Pease, Barbara and Allan. Why Men Don’t Listen and Women Can’t Read Maps. NY: Broadway Books, 1998, pp 31-32)

Right hemisphere develops faster in boys (e.g., spatial, mechanical, math skills). Left hemisphere develops faster in girls (e.g., linguistic skills, reading). (Durden-Smith, Jo, and Diane deSimone. Sex and the Brain. NY: Arbor House Publishing, 1983, pp 63-67)

Boys use right hemisphere more; girls the left. (Gurian, Michael, PhD, and Patricia Henley, with Terry Trueman. Boys and Girls Learn Differently! CA: Jossey-Bass, 2001, p 29)

The right side (spatial side) develops earlier in boys than it does in girls. The left side (verbal side) develops earlier in females. (Stump, Jane Barr, PhD. What’s the Difference? How Men and Women Compare. NY: William Morrow and Company, Inc., 1985, p 38)

The right hemisphere develops more rapidly in boys. They have better spatial, logical, and perceptual skills. They master puzzles, building, problem solving, and mathematics at an earlier age. (Pease, Barbara and Allan. Why Men Don’t Listen and Women Can’t Read Maps. NY: Broadway Books, 1998, pp 50-51)

The left hemisphere develops more rapidly in girls. They tend to speak sooner, read earlier, and learn a foreign language faster than boys. (Pease, Barbara and Allan. Why Men Don’t Listen and Women Can’t Read Maps. NY: Broadway Books, 1998, pp 50-51)

An infant whose external genitalia are ambiguous is genuinely intermediate in terms of gender, regardless of chromosome pattern. (Wilson, Glenn. The Great Sex Divide. England: Peter Owen Publishers, 1989, pp 76-77)

Known as Machihembra (man-woman) in a specific district of the Dominican Republic, male psuedo-hermaphroditism is an inherited enzyme deficiency that causes genetic males to develop as “females” until puberty and then suddenly turn into “males.” (Wilson, Glenn. The Great Sex Divide. England: Peter Owen Publishers, 1989, pp 77-78)

Defines these individuals as true bisexuals: one active ovary and one active testis. They could impregnate themselves, but are usually raised as either girls or as boys. (Durden-Smith, Jo, and Diane deSimone. Sex and the Brain. NY: Arbor House Publishing, 1983, pp 90-186)

Girls tend to be concerned with morality, relationships, and people. Boys tend to want to control dominate, and move up in the hierarchical structure. (Pease, Barbara and Allan. Why Men Don’t Listen and Women Can’t Read Maps. NY: Broadway Books, 1998, pp 245-247)

Dominance hierarchies are more stable amongst boys and less important in girls’ groups. Physical toughness and fighting ability are important for boys in developing a pecking order. (Nicholson, John. Men and Woman: How Different Are They? NY: Oxford University Press, 1984, pp 171-172)

Studies 90 years of Israeli Kibbutz: boys are consistently more aggressive, form power groups and unwritten hierarchies, fight, and make deals. Girls cooperate, make friends, share, and try to avoid conflicts. (Pease, Barbara and Allan. Why Men Don’t Listen and Women Can’t Read Maps. NY: Broadway Books, 1998, pp 247-250)

Most homosexual orientation develops during gestation. Patterns tend to be firmly in place by age 5. Discusses lack of success of change therapies (e.g., push bisexuals to confine behaviors to opposite sex only, or enforce celibacy, or push the individuals to attempt suicide). (Pease, Barbara and Allan. Why Men Don’t Listen and Women Can’t Read Maps. p 171-186. NY: Broadway Books, 1998.)

The trauma of growing up gay in a world that is run primarily by straight men is deeply wounding in a unique and profound way. Straight men have other issues and struggles that are no less wounding, but they are quite different from those of a gay man. (Downs, Alan, PhD. The Velvet Rage. Overcoming the Pain of Growing up Gay in a Straight Man’s World. p 5-6. NY: Da Capo Press, 2005. 2006.)

Refer to Sexual Orientation and the Brain for additional information.

Sexual differentiation depends on the sex chromosomes (XX or XY) being acted upon by sex hormones (that begin to influence our sexuality well before birth). The middle third of pregnancy is critical for sex differentiation in the human brain. (Wilson, Glenn. The Great Sex Divide. England: Peter Owen Publishers, 1989, pp 26-28)

Hormones (triggered by male genes) physically alter the male brain during pregnancy, masculinizing it for male sexual behavior. Without the hormones, his brain is likely to remain more typically female. A female fetus exposed to a male-pattern hormonal sequence is likely to be more typically masculine. (Rita Carter, Rita. Mapping the Mind. CA: University of California Press, 1998, p 21)

Lists seven events during pregnancy that can influence the level of hormone in the unborn childe (e.g., exercise, renal dysfunction, chromosomal mutations, chromosomes, barbiturates). (Howard, Pierce J., PhD. The Owner’s Manual for the Brain. Everyday Applications from Mind-Brain Research. GA: Bard Press, 1994, 2000, pp 215-221)

The action of sex hormones establishes sexual differentiation and organizes gender-specific behaviors. If the testes of a genetically male organism don’t produce androgens or if the hormones cannot act on the developing tissues, the organism will develop as a female. (Springer, Sally P., and Georg Deutsch. Left Brain, Right Brain. NY: W.H. Freeman and Co., 1997, pp 149-150)

The chemical environment of the fetus before birth (including hormonal variations due to maternal diet, drugs, and stress) can have profound effects on sexual development that have nothing to do with social roles or learning. (Wilson, Glenn. The Great Sex Divide. England: Peter Owen Publishers, 1989, pp 32-34)

Study: boys seemed to prefer the physical connection of a high five better than a hug. (Gurian, Michael, PhD, and Patricia Henley, with Terry Trueman. Boys and Girls Learn Differently! CA: Jossey-Bass, 2001, pp 80-81)

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