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01 April 2009

Why women talk so much

Have you ever wondered why women talk and gesture so much, while men do it significantly less?

Have you ever wondered why women talk and gesture so much, while men do it significantly less?

The answer lies in the brain, Professor Mike Bruton, scientific communicator from MTE studios explained at the SciFest Africa in Grahamstown during a talk on the differences of men and women's brains.

There are as many as 28 structural differences in the brains of men and women – that doesn't only lead to conflict between the sexes, but is also responsible for men and women experiencing life differently.

According to Bruton, a study has shown that there are significant differences in the way men and women communicate. Women use 8 000 to 10 000 gestures, 6 000 to 8 000 words and 2 000 to 3 000 sounds to communicate every day. This adds up to an estimated 21 000 words, sounds and gestures.

In comparison, men use 2 000 to 4 000 words, 1 000 to 2 000 sounds and 2 000 to 3 000 gestures – an estimated 9 000 in total.

Talk for different reasons
Men and women talk for different reasons. Women talk to relieve stress and to build relationships with other women. They really listen to what others say, and they can talk and listen at the same time. Men talk to exchange facts, and take turns to speak.

The Female corpus callosum, the part of the brain that connects the two hemispheres, is bigger than that of males. This enables women to perform multiple tasks at the same time, and enables women to recover better from brain injuries, because the parts of the brain that isn't injured can take over the tasks of the injured area.

Men have better spatial abilities, however 10% of women have the same abilities – in many instances these women are gay.

Importance of play
Bruton said that to play is one of the most important things for the development of a child's brain. It's also important to keep on playing, because once you stop, you start to age. Children that don't play or experience touch have a physically smaller brain.

Sleep is of utmost importance for the brain to store memory and to function optimally.

About 90% of information you experience is thrown out by the brain because it thinks it is useless. Memories aren't actually stored; it is recreated when you recall it.

The brain doesn't have a lot of storing space – only about 1,25 gigabites, Bruton said. That's why we forget things easily. Your brain can be changed by the things you do, that's why it's important to keep it fit. - (Elsabé Brits/Die Burger, April 2009)

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