Uh-Oh, Does This Give Men An Excuse?

Scientists have quibbled for years over who cheats more: Men or women? Research from paleoanthropologist Dean Falk, of the State University of New York at Albany, indicates that men might, and it may be related to the size of their brains. Until now, it had been generally accepted that the sexes had the same size brain once their proportions were taken into account. But after meticulously plotting human brain-size statistics onto a curve, Falk discovered that men’s brains, on average, are four ounces larger than those of women. Falk suspects the size discrepancy can be linked to the philandering tendencies of our primate ancestors.

Falk found that like humans, male rhesus monkeys had larger brains than females, while male and female gibbon apes were equally endowed. Rhesus males, however, leave the family group at adulthood and search for multiple mates, while gibbons are monogamous. Falk reasoned that the extra neurons of men and rhesus males are most likely dedicated to visual-spatial skills, such as map reading, distinguishing between left and right, and mentally rotating figures–all abilities useful for navigating uncharted territories in search of mates. And Falk thinks it’s no accident that men consistently outperform women on tests of those skills. “We think the male brain has more hardware to handle the graphics, like a souped-up computer,” Falk says. “But I knew right away that it couldn’t be because men are more intelligent than women.”

COPYRIGHT 1999 Discover

COPYRIGHT 2000 Gale Group

You May Also Like

Oh so young

Oh so young Sam Flamsteed The Hubble Telescope was designed to solve a long list of cosmic mysteries, but the most fundamental is th…

Kim’s coils

Kim’s coils – biochemist Peter Kim researches coiled-coil proteins Peter Radetsky PROTEINS DON’T GET A LOT OF publicity, at least no…

The touch of a shell – blind shell scientist

The touch of a shell – blind shell scientist – excerpt from ‘Privileged Hands’ Geerat Vermeij A TRAY OF SHELLS STANDS BEFORE me in t…

Music of the hemispheres

Music of the hemispheres – brain development in trained musicians MUSICAL ABILITY HAS LONG been attributed to the right hemisphere of the…