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In her new book, The Female Brain, Dr. Louann Brizedine reports on her meta-analysis of the research literature on the human brain. Her findings make it clear that men and women’s brains are wired differently and thus they respond to their world differently, almost as if they speak different languages. This difference begins very early in life. During the child’s development in the womb, the male brain is flooded with testosterone restricting cell development in the communication part of the brain, while growing the regions where sexual and aggressive drives predominate. We see the effect of this very early in the child’s life. Infant girls look at their mothers up to 20 times more than boys to check for emotional cues. As they grow older, girls are more likely to seek consensus and community, and in their teens, they are more prone to emotional upheaval, depression, and seek the comfort of social connections.

At the same time, adolescent males, whose brains are suddenly flooded with 10 times the amount of testosterone, experience a surge in the competition and sex drive. Other research demonstrates that women have twice the number of language receptor sites, while men seem to have a larger number of visual sites, and that women speak on average 20,000 words a day, while men only speak 7,000.

Couples who have been able to build successful intimate relationships have learned how to accept and manage these very real differences in brain structure and function.

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