Men, Women React Differently to Danger
MRI Scans Reveal Different Responses to Negative Stimuli
Dec. 3, 2009 (Chicago) -- When faced with danger, men's and women's brains
respond differently, say researchers who used MRI scans to look at how we
respond to different stimuli.
"Men and women are wired differently, and this is one of the ways," says
Andrew Zimmerman, MD, of the Kennedy Krieger Institute in Baltimore, who is
familiar with, but not involved in the research.
For the study, researchers analyzed the brain scans of 21 men and 19 women
as they looked at a series of images designed to elicit positive or negative
When viewing the negative images, men showed more pronounced activity in the
area of the brain involved with involuntary functions, including sweating,
heart rate, and digestion.
In other words, activation of this area evokes the so-called "fight or
flight response," telling men to either face up to or run from danger, says
study head Andrzej Urbanik, chair of radiology at Jagiellonian University in
Women, on the other hand, showed more pronounced activity in the left
thalamus, which controls the pain and pleasure areas of the brain, meaning that
they may react on a more emotional level, the research suggests.
The findings were presented here at the annual meeting of Radiological
Society of North America.