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20 of 24 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Women think differently, 27 May 2007
This review is from: The Female Brain (Paperback)
The Female Brain presents a wealth of hard facts to explode the myth of 1970s feminism that differences between men and women's thought processes are caused mainly by upbringing. Partly anecdotal and partly based on neuroscience and brain scans, it shows that much of the difference between male and female behaviour is caused by differences in the physiology of the brain, and the chemicals at work there. Dr Brizendine describes how men's and women's brains are the same up to the eighth week in the womb. Then a surge of testosterone causes a divergence in the development of the male brain. In particular it kills some of the cells in the communicative areas of the brain, and boosts the areas dealing with aggression and sex. Later, the different reactions of women can be clearly traced through brain scans. The physiological differences in the female brain are shown to explain the facts that women are four times more likely to cry than men; that women use 2-3 times as many words in a day than men; and that women think about sex about once a day while men think about it several times an hour. This is not surprising as the area of the women's brains devoted to sex is less than half of that in men's brains.

The specific differences discussed are often very interesting - for example it has been found that adolescent girls get similar levels of pleasure from the sharing of confidences, secrets and intimacies with a network of other girls as boys get out of sex. The chemicals (dopamine and oxytocin) released in the female brain by the sharing of confidences deliver "the biggest, fattest neurological reward you can get outside of an orgasm".

Sometimes the conclusions are a little over the top. For example, it is suggested that a woman's brain, "manoeuvring like an F15, is like a high performance emotion machine...geared to tracking, moment by moment...the innermost feelings of others". But this is an exception. The text is backed by over 50 pages of scientific, neurological, medical and psychological references, and the hard facts Dr Brizendine presents to support what may previously have seemed like airy generalisations about the differences between the sexes should make this book - which is brightly written throughout - essential reading for men as well as women.
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