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10 Interesting Facts About Male Brains
Most popular notions about the male brain are based on studies of men ages 18 to 22 — undergrads subjecting themselves to experiments for beer money or course credit. But a man's brain varies tremendously over his life span, quickly contradicting the image of the single-minded sex addict that circulates in mainstream consciousness.
In this presentation, you'll learn about common misconceptions, such as men wanting to sow their wild oats forever. And you'll learn how vulnerable men are to loneliness, and why men are so frustratingly focused on solutions.
In short, gals, here's what you need to know about guys' minds.
Covet wedding bells, tooSlide 2 of 21
Covet wedding bells, too
Women want to settle down, and men want to sow their wild oats forever, the refrain usually goes. But this might be one of the largest misconceptions stemming from the U.S. tendency of using undergrads as test subjects.
Infidelities are most likely to occur before men hit 30, found a study of Bolivian men published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society in 2007. After that, men primarily focus on providing for their families, the study found.
Of course, some men have a harder time with commitment than others — a problem which could be genetic, according to a 2008 study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science. Men without the "promiscuity gene," an estimated 60 percent of the population, are more likely to marry. But that's not all. Both they and their wives are also more likely to report relative marital bliss, the researchers found.
Unfortunately, the association is so small, said the study's lead researcher Hasse Walum of the Karolinska Institute in Sweden, "you can't use it for screening potential mates."
Continue to learn why men love a pecking order.Slide 3 of 21
Who's boss?Slide 4 of 21
An unstable hierarchy can cause men considerable anxiety, Brizendine said. But an established chain of command, such as that practiced by the military and many work places, reduces testosterone and curbs male aggression, she said.
Pre-occupation with establishing pecking order, which starts as early as age 6, motivates the "male dance, where they are always putting each other down," Brizendine added. "It is better to be aggressive in a verbal jab than to duke it out," she said.
Keep reading to learn how dad's have hormonal changes, too.Slide 5 of 21
The father-to-beSlide 6 of 21
The male brain becomes especially primed for cooperation in the months before becoming a father. Fathers-to-be go through hormone changes — prolactin goes up, testosterone goes down — which likely encourage paternal behavior, found a 2000 study in Evolution and Human Behavior.
The pheromones of a pregnant woman may waft over to her mate to spur these changes, said Brizendine, who was not involved with the study.
The expecting mom might be repaying a favor: Even before she is pregnant, male pheromones cause good-mom neurons to sprout in the female brain, found a 2008 study published in the journal Hormones and Behavior.
Next slide: Will they ever mature?Slide 7 of 21
The mature male brainSlide 8 of 21