The neuro-scientists have found that men’s brains are, on an average, around 10 to 15 per cent larger than that of women. But, it does not mean that women are less intelligent than men. Most psychological studies have shown that the difference in brain size was not related to differences in intelligence.
The compositional studies of brains have also shown that the male brains have a slightly higher proportion of white matter and men a little higher proportion of grey matter in most parts of the cerebral cortex. In other words, the cortex is slightly thicker in the brains of women than in men and somewhat convoluted. Also, it has been found that the bundle of nerve fibres connecting the two brain hemispheres is larger in women than in men.
“Subtle observable differences exist between male and female brains, but how exactly these relate to differences in behaviour is unknown. Such gender variations in the brain are often exaggerated and misappropriated, not only by the mass media but also by scientists, to reinforce stereotypes and perpetuate myths,” writes Mo Costandi in an article on the subject of gender differences.
Thus, the studies on the physical aspects of the brain have created certain myths about the superiority of men, despite the fact that learning and behaviours are individual acts and under differential learning situations and matching of individual learning style to customized teaching style both men and women can acquire the same cognitive developmental levels and behaviours.
It needs to be understood that the debate and studies on ‘nature verses nature’ have concluded that nurture plays about 90 per cent role in fostering and developing humans’ learning potential and behaviour shaping.
It needs to be understood that learning is a dynamic innate human potential and that brain structure and function change in response to structured instructional experiences. Therefore, the observed differences between the brains of men and women could also be due to differences in the lived experiences, upbringing, socialization and educational practices or nurturing styles of learning and behaviour acquisition.
Stressing the need for more research on and advocacy for nurturing styles of pedagogical practices Costandi says, “To date, though, very little research has been done to investigate how different nurturing styles might influence brain development.”