Men and women are from two different planets, right? We’ve been told (since practically forever) that men and women are inherently different. Women have always been seen as the more emotional of the sexes, while men fall more on the tough, hide-my-emotions-behind-a-stone-cold-face, end of the spectrum. But research from Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science has challenged that widely held belief.
The researchers debunked the idea that the hippocampus—the part of your brain that fuses new memories and connects emotions to the senses—is larger in females than males. The researchers were able to cross reference structural MRIs and analyze a meta-analysis that combined findings from 76 independent studies and published papers, involving over 6,000 healthy men and women. They found little to no difference in the size of the hippocampi (which is located on both sides of the brain under the cerebral cortex) or the corpus
callosum (white matter that allows either side of the brain to communicate) in men and women.
“Sex differences in the brain are irresistible to those looking to explain stereotypic differences between men and women,” said head researcher, Lise Eliot, Ph.D. in a release. “They often make a big splash, in spite of being based on small samples. But as we explore multiple datasets and are able to coalesce very large samples of males and females, we find these differences often disappear or are trivial.”
Not only did they conclude that men and women don’t differ in the way their left and right hemispheres process language, the team’s findings challenge the supposed relationship between a female’s “disproportionately large hippocampus” and greater emotional expressiveness, stronger interpersonal skills, and better verbal memory.
Your brain may be more like your girlfriend’s than you ever imagined afterall. Cue the Nicholas Sparks-athon and grab the tissues. Just kidding. Unless you’re into that, which is scientifically sound and totally normal. Go on and break those gender stereotypes.