VIDEO: What Distinguishes the Male and Female Brain?

How the Evolutionary Story Lives within Each of Us

Why do young boys tend to roughhouse while young girls lean towards relational play? According to Louann Brizendine, bestselling author of The Female Brain and The Male Brain, these and many other differences observed between men and women from their earliest years are hardwired—not the product of social conditioning. To more fully understand them, she says, we need to understand the different evolutionary scripts that distinguish the two sexes.

“There are some important differences that Mother Nature has built into us for specific purposes,” Louann tells us. “The hypothalamus, called ‘the area for sexual pursuit,’ is 2.5% larger in the male than the female brain. Mother Nature made it so you guys have a very important purpose—you’re supposed to search out fertile females and impregnate them. Whereas females need to be able to keep helpless infants alive. We have to be able to read subtle expression and all kinds of cues that the infant is communicating to the mom. These are pretty much hardwired in the female. Mother Nature wasn’t going to leave it just to our choice.”

In this brief video clip, Louann explains how neurobiological differences between men and women result from the distinctive “hormonal baths” the male and female brains receive during development.


Rich Simon

Richard Simon, PhD, founded Psychotherapy Networker and served as the editor for more than 40 years. He received every major magazine industry honor, including the National Magazine Award. Rich passed away November 2020, and we honor his memory and contributions to the field every day.