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Thread: Men vs Women : uni/multi-track brain

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    Satyavrata Maciamo's Avatar
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    Post Men vs Women : uni/multi-track brain



    in the book Why Men Don't Listen & Women Can't Read Maps, by Allan & Barbara Pease they explain that men can only concentrate on one thing at a time, while women can simultaneously cook, speak on the phone and listen to the radio, because they have a multi-track brain. They say that men can't shave or read and be listen to what someone id saying at the same time.

    In my case, I don't have any problem to perform manual tasks like cooking, shaving or tidying things up while talking or listenning to someone. But I can't understand how someone would be able to read a book and listen to someone without getting confused. The explanation is that it's difficult to get into several unrelated activities using language at the same time.

    My wife, however, doesn't seem to have a typically feminine multitrack brain, as she usually gets angry and seem overwhelemed when I talk to her while she is cooking, watching TV or reading, while it's never a problem if she does that with me, except that I would stop reading or listenning to the TV momentarily. That is doubly strange as women normally like to talk a lot, because, as explained in the book, their brain is better wired for speaking than that of men, AND women relax by talking and talking, while men need quiet "fire-gazing" time instead.

    Do you fit the description of your sex ? If you are a woman, can you do lots of things simultaneoulsy, and if you are a man, do you need to concentrate on one thing at a time ?
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    Actually, I'm male and I can multi task easily.
    I listen to music and read usually at the same time, however, I Can't say that I can shave while reading a book

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    i can multi easily depending on the things im doin. while playing on the computer i can usually hold several different conversations with different people while talk to someone next to me or on the phone while listening to music. i cant talk on the phone and play video games or watch tv because i get distracted by one or the other, though i can talk and play hacky sack at the same time *shrug* there are numerous things that i can, though probally shouldnt, do while driving a car.
    i can also rub my belly and pat my head simutaniously
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    If brainpower is required, i can't multitask at all. When i write or read or work on something that requires me to think, i block out everything around me.

    It's different with routine tasks. That's usually autopilot work and i can listen, speak or think about something totally different at the same time.

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    Re: Men vs Women : uni/multi-track brain

    Originally posted by Maciamo
    My wife, however, doesn't seem to have a typically feminine multitrack brain, as she usually gets angry and seem overwhelemed when I talk to her while she is cooking, watching TV or reading, while it's never a problem if she does that with me, except that I would stop reading or listenning to the TV momentarily. That is doubly strange as women normally like to talk a lot, because, as explained in the book, their brain is better wired for speaking than that of men, AND women relax by talking and talking, while men need quiet "fire-gazing" time instead.[/B]
    Interruptions definately get on my nerves as these sorts of generalizations are beginning to as well.
    In fact, most of the research to date has shown that although there are differences between the ways males and females process language in the brain, these do not yield any measurable differences in linguistic competence or language use and that any such differences can be explained culturally. I don't even think there are even statistically sigificant differences on verbal achievement or intelligence tests anymore.

    So there's absolutely NOTHING 'doubly strange' about an introverted woman that prefers to concentrate on single task at a time. I am exactly the same way and even read somewhere that a preference for an orderly, controlled flow of daily activities, not appreciating surprises or the unexpected turn of events, is a trait shared by most Japanese men and women .

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    Re: Men vs Women : uni/multi-track brain

    Originally posted by Maciamo
    My wife, however, doesn't seem to have a typically feminine multitrack brain, as she usually gets angry and seem overwhelemed when I talk to her while she is cooking, watching TV or reading, while it's never a problem if she does that with me, except that I would stop reading or listenning to the TV momentarily. That is doubly strange as women normally like to talk a lot, because, as explained in the book, their brain is better wired for speaking than that of men, AND women relax by talking and talking, while men need quiet "fire-gazing" time instead.[/B]
    Interruptions definately get on my nerves as these sorts of generalizations are beginning to as well.
    In fact, most of the research to date has shown that although there are differences between the ways males and females process language in the brain, these do not yield any measurable differences in linguistic competence or language use and that any such differences can be explained culturally or environmentally (strong silent type verses the gossipy housewife, etc). I don't think there are even statistically sigificant differences on verbal achievement or intelligence tests anymore.

    So there's absolutely NOTHING 'doubly strange' about an introverted (which is genetically based to some degree, although I'm not aware of any biological sex differences) woman prefering to immerse herself in one task at a time. I am exactly the same way as a matter of fact and even read somewhere recently that reveling in an orderly, controlled flow of daily activities, not appreciating surprises or the unexpected turn of events, is a trait shared by most Japanese men AND women .

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    Satyavrata Maciamo's Avatar
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    Re: Re: Men vs Women : uni/multi-track brain

    Originally posted by Elizabeth
    In fact, most of the research to date has shown that although there are differences between the ways males and females process language in the brain, these do not yield any measurable differences in linguistic competence or language use and that any such differences can be explained culturally. I don't even think there are even statistically sigificant differences on verbal achievement or intelligence tests anymore.
    There has been lots of test that shown significant and non cultural difference between the way men and women think. Modern brain scans have demonstrated the different mental activity between sexes. Most of what I've read in that book was true for lots of people I know intimately, often stereotypically so.

    So there's absolutely NOTHING 'doubly strange' about an introverted woman that prefers to concentrate on single task at a time.
    I think my wife is all but introverted. As I said, almost everything in the book (+ 2 other books) were true for her. I am usually the exception as I seem to be gifted of both male and female skills, but I don't know any other men like me.

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    Re: Re: Re: Men vs Women : uni/multi-track brain

    Originally posted by Maciamo
    There has been lots of test that shown significant and non cultural difference between the way men and women think. Modern brain scans have demonstrated the different mental activity between sexes. Most of what I've read in that book was true for lots of people I know intimately, often stereotypically so.

    Unless you are looking at infants or kids under 7-8 or so, there are still cultural explanations for the brain scan studies I've seen anyway involving motivation of the participants and societal expectations for high performance. Perhaps women use more regions of their brain in listening then men because it is more difficult for them and they need to concentrate more or maybe because they feel more pressure to excel in language tasks and on and on. It seems the brain is much more malleable and plastic in terms of forming new connections and "reorganizing" itself to fit the environment than once believed. Even the researchers themselves admit these sorts of things. And, yes, the range of performance within each sex most definately overwhelms any supposed "average" difference between men and women.

    I think my wife is all but introverted. As I said, almost everything in the book (+ 2 other books) were true for her. I am usually the exception as I seem to be gifted of both male and female skills, but I don't know any other men like me.
    Of course I don't know your wife, so I was actually just using her as a neat segue to talk about myself here.
    Last edited by Elizabeth; 03-07-03 at 08:40.

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    Re: Re: Re: Men vs Women : uni/multi-track brain

    Originally posted by Maciamo
    [B]There has been lots of test that shown significant and non cultural difference between the way men and women think. Modern brain scans have demonstrated the different mental activity between sexes. Most of what I've read in that book was true for lots of people I know intimately, often stereotypically so.
    Remember that all of these tests only show an "average" and so quoting this sort of data needs to be prefaced with this fact. While statistically significant, the ranges and standard deviations tend to be quite large.

    Otherwise you are not being fair to people who are not "average" and lets face it, some of us don't want to be thought of as average.

    I don't want to be put into a box because of my gender etc. It is too limiting for the individual and hampers the creative spirit.
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    Re: Re: Re: Re: Men vs Women : uni/multi-track brain

    Originally posted by Enfour

    Otherwise you are not being fair to people who are not "average" and lets face it, some of us don't want to be thought of as average.
    Yes, of course, but there is no wrong in being able to do several or only one thing at a time.

    More interestingly the book explained how typically male or female behaviour were linked with the testosterone (male hormone) levels. I've also read several articles in the
    The Scientific American Book of the Brain
    that links homosexuality with the testosterone level to which the foetus was exposed during pregnancy. It is most critical during the latest months corresponding to the barin formation. So homosexually is not something that people choose, but is determined before birth and is all in the brain. If a male foetus didn't get enough testosterone, chances are the the baby will later be gay. Stats show that 90% of homosexual are men, justly because it's more likely that a male foetus lacks testosterone than a female foetus lacks oestrogens (female hormones).

    All this is also explained in "Why women can't read map & men...". They have also included a test that is supposed to tell how masculine or feminine one's brain is, analysing the traits of behaviour such as multitasking, ability to read maps and orientate, etc. Every point is explained in the book with scientific data to support them. From what they say, the more "feminine" a man's brain scores at the test, the higher the chances he is gay, and vice versa with women. It seems to work as I have made the test with several people and very feminine women got very "female brain" scores, "very masculine men" very male barin scores, and those with bisexual or homosexual tendencies got respectively limit scores or scores opposite to their sex.

    So I think these researches aren't balderdash, but should be taken into consideration. Obviously, a single aspect such as my example of mono/pluri-tracking isn't enough to understand how male or female a person is mentally. I actually posted this topic because I had a doubt about the argument's validity, based on my personnal observations. That's why I didn't understand Elizabeth's reaction, as she was also skeptical.

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    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Men vs Women : uni/multi-track brain

    Originally posted by Maciamo
    So I think these researches aren't balderdash, but should be taken into consideration. Obviously, a single aspect such as my example of mono/pluri-tracking isn't enough to understand how male or female a person is mentally. I actually posted this topic because I had a doubt about the argument's validity, based on my personnal observations. That's why I didn't understand Elizabeth's reaction, as she was also skeptical. [/B]
    I'm suspicious because I was able to find and pull these more nuanced perspectives off the internet in less than a minute. Without having any inside understanding of the credibility of any of these research teams, their methodology, how they defined masculine/feminine (hard-wired for talking or quiet and ladylike, etc) or of course seeing any firsthand data.


    Chapter Eight of Brain Sex went into further detail about homosexuality. Dr Gunther Dorner, of former East Germany, extended the above research to the development of sexuality in the brain. His theory is that if we look closely at what happens at the six-week stage of the foetus, it can be subdivided. The brain is not masculinised at one go. At slightly different times, different parts of the brain are affected, giving rise to slightly different aspects of gender. He named three stages:


    the masculinisation of the "sex centres" where the typical physical characteristics are laid down;

    the masculinisation of the "mating centres" (specifically the hypothalamus) which control sexual behaviour;

    the masculinisation of the "gender-role centres", which control general behaviour such as aggression and sociability.
    A refinement of this theory comes from the American, Dr Milton Diamond, who believes there are 4 stages:


    basic sexual patterning wherein the general behaviour we associate with males or females, e.g aggression, promiscuity, or lack thereof, are organised in the brain;

    sexual identity -- what sex people ascribe to themselves (whether they consider themselves male or female);

    sexual object choice -- the sex of the desired partner (this is equivalent to Dorner's mating centre); and

    control centres for the sexual anatomy, including mechanisms of orgasm.
    [Though listing them as stages 1 to 4, I don't intend to mean they occur in that particular order.]

    If for some reason, the male hormone levels in the male foetus is lower than usual during a specific stage of the brain's masculinisation process, then that particular aspect may not be fully masculinised, without affecting the normal development of other aspects of sexuality.

    For example, taking Dr Diamond's 4-stage scheme, if something odd happens during the window period for sexual object choice, and male hormone levels in the foetus does not reach as high as it should, then the male foetus' brain may remain "feminine" in that respect, with sexual attraction in adult life directed towards other males, that is, homosexual. But in all other respects, such as identifying himself as male, and showing competitive, object-oriented or promiscuous behaviour, being good at math and visual-spatial skills, he would be no different from heterosexual males. When he grows up, he would be what is often called a "straight gay". By the way, this is far and away the most common type of gay men, in case you don't know.

    Another male foetus might be affected at two different stages. One might cause effeminate behaviour, and the other might cause sexual object choice to be male. This would make an effeminate homosexual male. It takes two errors in hormone levels to make this happen. Perhaps that is why it is less common to see effeminate gay men compared to "straight gays".

    You could also have a situation where the person is effeminate, but clearly heterosexual. Behaviour/mannerisms and sexual object choice are different things.

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    Well, scientists tend to disagree on such controversial topics. What I said was what I read in the Scientific American book of the brain (check the index from p157 for the name of the scientists), which is supposed to be a compilation of the best articles from the Scientif American magazine, written by some of the world most prominent neurologists and psychologists, if I believe what is on the cover. It doesn't mean they should be trusted 100%, but it just says that my sources are just eccentric ideas of "generalizers", as you'd like to call them.

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    I am proud of being femmine and I agree with most of the points of the book. Of course they are generalisations and there are always exceptions.

    If you go into a relationship thinking we are the same, there will be many misunderstandings...... at risk of sounding cheesy, we should celebrate our differences!



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    Well said Nzueda ! I found that book very helpful to understand women in general (not just my wife ). I didn't start this topic because I wanted to put everyone in a box, but to discuss differences in way of thinking and feeling between men and women. I'd be glad if each of us could just give their impression about this. I know there are exceptions and that is why I want to hear as many opinions as possible to assess to waht extend these "generalities" can be said to be true.

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    i can't multitask (or spell)
    and i don't think most men can if they are excited in a certain fashion...
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    i am assamed to be a man... just kidding, i think being a man with the personality that i have just makes me all the more unique. lonely, but unique. the only heterosexual man of my kind. na, im sure some one like me exists out there. dont get me wrong though, i still like heavy metal and dragon ball z.
    Now, however, there remain faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

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    You whant to date with pretty girl and dont know how to do it? Use Pickbride mobile applications, that apps make it most comfortable on dating market.

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