It has long been agreed upon by researchers that young females and males differ in their language abilities. Women have been far superior. For a long time though it has gone biologically unproven; there has been no discernible difference between the genders.
However researchers from Northwestern University and the University of Haifa have now shown that there are two differences; a) that areas of the brain that are associated with language work more intensely in females than they do for males and b) that the genders rely on different parts of the brain when performing these tasks.
"Our findings -- which suggest that language processing is more sensory in boys and more abstract in girls -- could have major implications for teaching children and even provide support for advocates of single sex classrooms," said Douglas D. Burman, research associate in Northwestern's Roxelyn and Richard Pepper Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders.
The first showed the children a certain word without them hearing it, and in the latter the words were heard but not seen.
From this, the researchers created a complex statistical model that accounted for age, gender, type of linguistic judgment, performance accuracy and the method in which words were presented, ie, verbal or auditory.
What the researchers found astonished them. Girls showed a much greater activation in the language areas of the brain. The performance accuracy for the girls correlated with the degree of activation in some of their brains language areas; the areas associated with abstract thinking through language.
The surprising aspect of the study though was focused around the differences between girls and boys. In boys – differing from how the girls’ brains worked – when reading words, their accuracy performance depended on how hard the visual areas of the brain worked. In hearing words, it depended upon how hard auditory areas of the brain worked.
This has real world implications, beyond just scientific curiosity. Some critics of the unisex classrooms could use this information to support their case for single sex classrooms. Others, less intent on creating a generation of homosexually brainwashed children, believe that this research could change the method of evaluation.
For example, instead of testing everybody the same way, boys’ might be allowed to be tested on information gained from lectures via an oral test, and on knowledge gained by reading via written tests. Girls on the other hand would not need these different methods.
"One possibility is that boys have some kind of bottleneck in their sensory processes that can hold up visual or auditory information and keep it from being fed into the language areas of the brain," Burman said.
This possibility could simply result from the fact that girls develop faster than boys do, and thus, could entirely disappear by adulthood. Or, conversely, boys may simply create visual and auditory associations so that meanings linked with a word are brought to mind when seeing or hearing the word.
An example of just how this plays out in the real world is if you were to ask a woman for directions, you would get the following answer; "Turn left on Main Street, go one block past the drug store, and then turn right, where there's a flower shop on one corner and a cafe across the street." That is all good and well for the female who is reliant upon the abstract information involved in the descriptive answer, but males just need the base instruction; anything else is confusing.
Either way, men, better get used to hearing about this one for awhile!
Posted by Josh Hill.
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