Can Women Really Think?

Clearly, yes, women can really think. But on a statistical basis at the highest levels where progress is made, can elite women perform at the same levels as elite men?

Only 48 of 900 Nobel Prizes have been awarded to women, and only one prestigious Fields Medal in mathematics has gone to a woman over the past century. In an extensive study of Human Accomplishment between the years 800 BC and 1950 CE, Charles Murray found that only a tiny fraction of human excellence in the arts and sciences over that time span was accomplished by a woman.

There is reason to suspect that the brains of women — on a statistical basis — may be different than the brains of men.

The author of the article below is describing a huge recent multi-modal study comparing the brains of adult males with the brains of adult females, by Stuart Ritchie at the University of Edinburgh.

… Ritchie et al – who studied more than 5,000 subjects, don’t forget – confirmed the positive association between total brain volume and intelligence. The men in their sample scored, on average, fractionally higher than the women on a test of verbal-numerical reasoning and recorded slightly faster processing speeds on another test. After extensive statistical analysis, they concluded that the modest sex differences in verbal-numerical reasoning were almost entirely due to differences in brain volumetric and surface area measures and the differences in reaction time were partly due to the same. __

Ritchie also confirmed the greater variability in male intelligence compared to female intelligence.

Below is an excerpt from and the link to Ritchie’s full article PDF as first published online in 2017:

Males showed larger brain volume across all cortical subregions. The sex differences were statistically significant in every subregion, ranging in size from small (d = −0.24 in the right temporal pole) to large (d = −1.03 in the right insula); the mean d-value across all subregions was −0.67 (p adj-values < 9.00×10-13). Even larger differences, all favouring males, were observed for surface area; these ranged from moderate (d = −0.43 in the left caudal anterior cingulate) to large (d = −1.20 in the left superior frontal region). The mean d-value across all subregions was −0.83 (all p adj-values < 2.00×10-36). __

Ritchie and his group found that the brains of women were different statistically than the brains of men on a gross anatomical basis for the whole brain and for subregions of the brain, different on the basis of connectivity within and between hemispheres and subregions, and different on the basis of network functionality — which would almost certainly follow from the statistical differences in the first two areas.

One of the most striking findings of the Ritchie study was the “stronger” default mode network, on average, in female brains. Researchers have found that women tend to ruminate on emotionally laden topics to a far greater extent — on average — than do males. Such rumination would utilise the default mode network.

Some of the findings of the Ritchie study above can be compared to findings from an earlier meta-analysis by Amber Ruigrok and Professors John Suckling and Simon Baron-Cohen in the Cambridge Department of Psychiatry, in a 2014 study published in Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews:

On average, males had larger absolute volumes than females in the intracranial space (12%; >14,000 brains), total brain (11%; 2,523 brains), cerebrum (10%; 1,851 brains), grey matter (9%; 7,934 brains), white matter (13%; 7,515 brains), regions filled with cerebrospinal fluid (11.5%; 4,484 brains), and cerebellum (9%; 1,842 brains). Looking more closely, differences in volume between the sexes were located in several regions. These included parts of the limbic system, and the language system.

Specifically, males on average had larger volumes and higher tissue densities in the left amygdala, hippocampus, insular cortex, putamen; higher densities in the right VI lobe of the cerebellum and in the left claustrum; and larger volumes in the bilateral anterior parahippocampal gyri, posterior cingulate gyri, precuneus, temporal poles, and cerebellum, areas in the left posterior and anterior cingulate gyri, and in the right amygdala, hippocampus, and putamen. __

The more recent Ritchie study was original, looking at over 5,000 adult humans. The slightly earlier Baron-Cohen study on the other hand, was a meta-study that looked at multiple research studies over more than a twenty-year time span.

Sex Hormones in Utero and in Puberty Shape the Gendered Brain

The anomalies in hormonal secretion patterns portrayed in the graphic above demonstrate the profound influence of the secretion of testosterone and other androgens on brain and body development of fetus, child, and adolescent.

The research study linked below provides copious details:

Hormones and Chromosomes: Shaping Sex Differences in the Brain

An entire issue of the Journal of Neuroscience Research devoted to the topic of Sex Differences in the brain

Brief overview of this field of research

Brief description of an earlier imaging study similar to Ritchie’s

All of This Adds Up to Important Brain Differences

On a statistical level, male and female brains differ on many areas of measure — anatomical and functional. We are learning how important sex hormones are to this differentiation of male and female brains, statistically. And the more intelligent of us are beginning to admit that these differences explain — at least partially — differences in choices and accomplishments between women and men in academia, careers, workplace behaviours, and activity across society, culture, and wealth accumulation.

We are still at a relatively early stage of understanding and documenting these differences — and the reasons for them. But the technology for studying these questions will only get better over time.

Summary: At the elite levels where human progress occurs — in science, maths, technology, philosophy, economics, and across the span of human accomplishment — males produce much more innovation. “Brains of genius” occur far more commonly among the male of the species for many reasons, many of which are related to the testosterone effect on developing brains. An additional effect of testosterone on intelligent males is a strong urge to compete, achieve, and produce tangible results. All of this is an outcome of millions of years of mammalian evolution.

When elite males are placed in an atmosphere of opportunity — such as is seen in many nations of the western world — their advantages are often converted into successful companies and other types of superior achievement. That is probably why many such men migrate from other parts of the world to those particular nations of the west which offer more opportunity.

When leftist political agendas of artificially forced gender equity outcomes are allowed to parasitise the administrative structures of institutions in previously free nations, the entire enterprise begins to turn sour and die.

This entry was posted in Human Brain, Sex Differences and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Can Women Really Think?

  1. JerryO says:

    Good information, as always… at the risk of sounding PC—Wich I am NOT, I like the way the article points out differences in brain size, etc… w/out passing judgement. That’s the whole point here: men and women ARE different! The libs always think that stating FACTUAL differences between the sexes makes women “less than.” It DOESN’T! It just means we are different! The Bible teaches that when a man and woman are married, “their flesh will become one.” We complete and complement one’s NOT a contest Libbies!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. Krtz says:

    Reason for nobel prize differences is because women weren’t encourage to pursue it and were encouraged to stay at home. In my daily life i meet way more dumb and scummy man. Women tend to be nice and smart.

    • Krtz says:

      But i think there was a study that showed women were mostly average intelligence while you had alot of dumber man but also more high end IQ achievers man

    • Cecil Henry says:

      Doubt it. What you are seeing is agreeableness and compliance on the part of women that makes it look like higher intelligence.

      Not to belittle women, but its not. Of course there are smart women, but the reality of this difference is readily seen in higher professions.

  3. yoananda says:

    “confirmed the positive association between total brain volume and intelligence”
    I think it’s a bit more complicated. It’s not the size of the brain, but the relative size of the brain. That explains why women, even though there have smaller brain, have smaller body and the same average intelligence. A better proxy for the intelligence seems to be the size of the veins (the diameter of 2 small hole at the base of the skull) : blood flow and sugar consumption is greater when the person is intelligent, regardless of it’s brain size.
    Men greater variability is an evolution tool. Men have more genius, but also more asshole. On the average men are also more violent than women (but we can argue that men are just physically more violent and women more psy-violent).

  4. Maldo says:

    Women didn’t have drives from natural selection for not just higher intelligence (as opposed to just passable enough intelligence) but relevant skillsets to excel in fields like mathematics. A woman doesn’t need to be especially inventive to attract a man (not even a high quality man) as opposed to having a certain low cunning. She can get a man by not being overly hideous and agreeable enough in personality (or the man doesn’t have better options).

    • alfin2101 says:

      X and Y chromosome genes have tended to evolve somewhat independently. So while both males and females are subject to X chromosome gene selection, only males are subject to Y chromosome gene selection. This provides a mechanism for males and females of the same species to evolve in separate directions for specific traits.

      The mechanisms involved in such differential gene selection are not clearly understood, although the problems should be solved as long as political correctness is not allowed to obstruct (and reconstruct) the research.

Comments are closed.