John Gray on His Book, 'Why Mars and Venus Collide'
The author of 'Men are from Mars, Women from Venus' explains how men and women manage stress differently and what they can do for stress relief.
Q. What can men do?
A. The amygdala, the stress center of a man's brain, stimulates the production of dopamine, which gives men energy. When you're talking about problems, if he can't do anything about it, his energy levels start to drop. Knowing that he's solving your problem of stress will keep his energy up somewhat. But there's something that will keep his energy up even more, and that's eye movement. The way the brain is designed in a man is that the amygdala is hooked up to [both] the action center, which solves problems, and the visual center, which is to look. That's why men are much more visual when it comes to sexual attraction. Seeing new and different [things], seeing a challenge, seeing femininity, [all] stimulate energy in his brain much more than a woman's visual center. His whole fight-or-flight center is hooked to the visual cortex of the brain.
So when she's talking, he needs to stay attentive with his eyes. He needs to look into her eyes for a brief moment or two, then look to her cheeks, then slightly look to her nose, then slightly look to her mouth, then take in her whole face and her forehead. Then start over. The woman won't notice anything, but if he can continue doing that -- slightly moving his eyes -- he's selectively taking in more information from your face. It gives him something to do with his brain. It's literally like taking caffeine.
Q. Is this the reason men always look around when women talk to them?
A. You hit it right on the nail. I'm doing my very best, let's say, to be attentive to my wife and my three daughters. I'm in this restaurant and in my view, off to the left, is a TV set. There is no way I can listen to them in their conversation because that movement on the TV pulls my eyes and gives me energy -- unless I'm practicing this technique.
Q. Does this mean that listening is always going to be a problem for men?