The Testosterone Connection
The differences between males and females are, of course, some of life's great mysteries, and the debate as to whether these differences are hard-wired or result from gender bias in our child rearing has raged for decades. Recent research, however, makes a compelling case that just as there are clear-cut anatomical differences between boys and girls, there are differences in brain chemistry as well -- differences that influence behavior.
Some of these "differences" may be stereotypes -- the boy who's so aggressive that he breaks everything he touches or the girl who bursts into tears if you look at her cross-eyed. But what is their basis in biology?
British psychopathologist Simon Baron-Cohen, PhD, author of The Essential Difference: The Truth About the Male and Female Brain (Perseus, 2003), has spent nearly two decades studying the topic. He has found that the average female brain is better at empathizing with others, while the average male brain is better at systemizing and predicting outcomes. (However, Baron-Cohen is adamant that the descriptions "male" and "female" simply represent averages, and that either gender can have either brain type.)