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10 Facts about a Woman's Brain"There is no such thing as a unisex brain," says neuropsychiatrist Dr. Louann Brizendine of the University of California in San Francisco and author of "The Female Brain."
Despite the trumpets of women's lib, science suggests sex differences are innate. Women, apparently, are not curvy versions of men sporting high-heeled shoes.
Here are 10 things every woman-loving man should know.
She changes every day based on her cycleSlide 2 of 21
She changes every day based on her cycleAffecting up to 80 percent of women, PMS is a familiar scapegoat. But women are affected by their cycles every day of the month. Hormone levels are constantly changing in a woman's brain and body, changing her outlook, energy and sensitivity along with them.
About 10 days after the onset of menstruation, right before ovulation, women often feel sassier, Brizendine told LiveScience. Unconsciously, they dress sexier as surges in estrogen and testosterone prompt them to look for sexual opportunities during this particularly fertile period.
A week later, there is a rise in progesterone, the hormone that mimics valium, making women "feel like cuddling up with a hot cup of tea and a good book," Brizendine said. The following week, progesterone withdrawal can make women weepy and easily irritated. "We call it crying over dog commercials crying," Brizendine said.
For most women, their mood reaches its worst 12-24 hours before their period starts. "It is not entirely an issue of free will," Brizendine stressed.Slide 3 of 21
She really is intuitive (though not magic)Slide 4 of 21
She really is intuitive (though not magic)Men can have the uncomfortable feeling that women are mind readers or psychics, Brizendine said. But women's intuition is likely more biological than mystical.
Over the course of evolution, women may have been selected for their ability to keep young preverbal humans alive, which involves deducing what an infant or child needs — warmth, food, discipline &mdash without it being directly communicated. This is one explanation for why women consistently score higher than men on tests that require reading nonverbal cues. Women not only better remember the physical appearances of others but also more correctly identify the unspoken messages conveyed in facial expressions, postures and tones of voice, studies show.
This skill, however, is not limited to childrearing. Women often use it tell what bosses, husbands and even strangers are thinking and planning. [Clueless Guys Can't Read Women]Slide 5 of 21
She avoids aggressionSlide 6 of 21
She avoids aggressionStressful situations are known to spur the "fight or flight" response in men, but researchers have suggested that women, after sensing a threat, instinctually try to "tend or befriend." That is, they skirt physical responses in favor of forming strategic, even manipulative, alliances.
Women may have evolved to avoid physical aggression because of the greater dependence of children on their survival, suggests Anne Campbell of Durham University. (In ancient hunter-gatherer days, men only needed to do the deed to spread their genes, while women had to stay alive long enough to birth and raise the young.)
"It is not that females are not aggressive, it is that they are aggressive in different ways," said evolutionary psychologist Daniel Kruger of the University of Michigan. They tend to use more indirect forms of confrontation, he told LiveScience. [The History of Human Aggression]Slide 7 of 21
She responds to pain and anxiety differentlySlide 8 of 21