Monday, December 26, 2011
Study: Sex differences in brain volume are related to specific skills, not to general intelligence
A new study in the journal Intelligence of 100 Spaniard male and female college students reports that men, on average, have more total brain volume (TBV) and more gray matter volume (GMV), but these do not translate into higher general intelligence (g). Sex differences only appear for specific mental abilities. TBV and GMV are positively correlated with greater visuospatial skills (i.e., mental rotation). By contrast, higher specific verbal skills are associated with lower: 1) visuospatial skills, 2) total brain volume, and 3) white matter volume. From these results, the researchers conclude that larger male brains provide more total neurons needed for mental manipulation of 3D objects, while smaller female brains might work more efficiently to give enhanced verbal skills (that are unrelated to g).