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Men's health

“Women more empathic than men”, true or false?

March 13, 2018

Women and men are undeniably different and generally have different characters. Usually, one is led to believe that women are more empathic, emotional and sensitive than men. True or false? Dr. Elisabetta Menna, researcher of the Humanitas Hospital and the Institute of Neuroscience of the CNR, answers.


“True. Apparently it may seem that women are more empathic than men,” she explains. However, empathy is above all an individual fact, although there are certainly differences between the female and male brains. In particular, numerous scientific studies have shown that in the female brain, the connections between neurons are greater (about 10% more than in the male brain) and that their direction is different. In women, in fact, connections show a preferential direction from the right hemisphere to the left hemisphere, i.e. transversal, while in men the connections run from front to back along the same hemisphere. This could lead to women being favored in the transition from global and emotional thinking, which is dealt with by the right hemisphere, to rational and analytical thinking, governed by the left hemisphere. Moreover, women would be able to better analyze their own emotions, as well as understand the emotions of others and identify themselves in the emotional conditions of other people. Men, on the other hand, would be favored in the elaboration of logical and rational thinking. One could also think that, due to this difference in the brain, women react more emotionally and with greater affective involvement, while men are more rational, directed and pushed towards physical action when faced with a situation of anxiety and stress. However, even if the differences undoubtedly exist, we cannot speak of a male and female brain because the differences between one individual and another are greater than they are between the male and female gender”.


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