Reviewed by Louise Chang on April 05, 2012

Sources

Marianne Legato, MD. Founder, Partnership for Gender-Specific Medicine

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Video Transcript

: How do gender differences affect relationships?

Marianne Legato, MD: In general, men do one thing at a time. They do it efficiently, they are goal oriented, it's in, out and finished. A woman on the other hand, is much more likely to cogitate about an experience, especially if it's unpleasant, retain it in greater detail in memory, And because of the wiring of her brain to her adrenal gland, probably has an elevated cortisol level for at least 24 hours longer than a man after an unpleasant experience, that leaves her anxious, and saddened by that quarrel that they may have had.

Marianne Legato, MD (cont.): He on the other hand, goes to bed 5 minutes after it's over, considers it done, gets up the next morning at breakfast ready to begin the next day, and she wants to continue the discussion, and hence the title of the book, "Why Men Never Remember, and Women Never Forget.

Marianne Legato, MD (cont.): I genuinely think that's a difference in the way the brains operate and people would suggest that it's an evolutionary selection. It's important for a guardian of the family unit especially when children are little, to remember harmful experiences, where not to go with those vulnerable children and it's very important for a man not to remember how frightened he was the last time he saw the saber toothed tiger, or to remember how much pain he felt when he was wounded or damaged in the course of a struggle, so people suggest that these are evolutionary selections out of traits that are now apparent.

Marianne Legato, MD (cont.): Men are less about to decipher the subtleties of tones in language and of facial expression, and they have a spectacular inability to accurately decode sadness on a female face. So one of the consequences of this is that sulking does not get you very far, whereas a straightforward comment, please help me with this problem, because it hurts my feelings when you tell me that my dress doesn't fit and that I should lose weight. Let's discuss a way you can help me achieve a weight goal, rather than making me feel, which I am, ashamed of that.

Marianne Legato, MD (cont.): You'll get a much better response and a collaborative one than if you just look hurt. And even weep when you're told you're overweight for example. That doesn't work. It isn't that the significant other doesn't care. It's the question of what works in communication between the sexes.