by Candice Gage
A few weeks ago, a friend posted a link on my Facebook wall to a photo titled “Man and Woman in Computer Form.” I clicked the photo thumbnail and found myself looking at two control panels. One, labeled “Man,” contained an on/off switch. The other, labeled “Woman” contained 40 colored knobs and buttons, complete with blinking lights.
You’ve probably seen the picture I’m describing. It has come through my Facebook feed several times in the last weeks. On StumbleUpon alone, it has been viewed over four million times and received over one thousand comments. Apparently, something about the old “women are so much more complicated than men” cliché really resonates with people.
As I pondered the picture, I was reminded of Chapter 16 of John Piper and Wayne Grudem’s Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood. This chapter, titled “Biological Basis for Gender-Specific Behavior,” was written by Gregg Johnson, who lays out some of the psychological and physiological differences between the sexes. In his discussion of gender differences in cerebral organization, Johnson states that “it was found that the bridge of nerve fibers or processes between the two hemispheres (of the brain) … was significantly larger and contained more nerve fibers in females.” Because of this difference, men and women process information differently:
It appears … that women are generally capable of receiving and meaningfully processing more sensory nerve input. Because their nerves interact with more neighboring nerves, they are able to integrate more sensory and sorted memory information to derive more complete analysis and assessment of a particular circumstance. … This might in fact be what has for years been called women’s intuition. It may be simply women’s ability to process, evaluate, and respond to more immediate simultaneous stimuli. A biological argument for the purpose of this ability of females to capture more stimuli would be that in the role of childrearing there is great advantage in being able to receive and process multiple stimuli in order to monitor multiple children and other social contacts. …
Males, with more lateralized brains, tend to have thought-processing more regionally isolated and discreet, with fewer interconnecting nerve interactions and perhaps more straightforward, quick reactions to important stimuli. This would be a strategy more conducive to the hunter, tracker, and builder. It may also be conducive to categorical thinking. … The more lateralized brain would be expected to be more single-minded, focused, less distractible, and perhaps less socially aware.
It’s not so much that the brain of one sex is more complicated than that of the other, it’s just that we process things differently. One of the best illustrations I’ve heard came from author Chad Eastham, who gave a talk at my alma mater a few years ago. Eastham likened the thought processes of men to waffles and those of women to spaghetti. Men, Eastham said, tend to think in one square at a time. For women, he said, everything is connected.
Considering the evidence, it seems a more accurate depiction of men and women in computer form would be two panels with equal amounts of nobs and buttons. The difference would lie in how many lights were on at a time.
This article was originally published by Marry Well on May 9, 2011.
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