Is this really breaking news, ladies? While women everywhere have known this to be true, a new study is shining light on the differences between males and females.
Researchers studied 56 men and women to determine whether differences in men’s and women’s brain chemistries could affect a person’s generosity. Participants were randomly split into two groups: One group received a placebo pill while the other group received amisulpride, a drug that blocks the body from reabsorbing dopamine — a chemical that plays a major role in the brain’s reward system.
Participants were then presented with a hypothetical scenario where they could take a sum of money for themselves or split it with another person. The person with whom the participants could share the money ranged from a close friend to a complete stranger. When they completed their tasks, participants were given the second pill and run through the same situation again.
The results, which were published in the journal Nature Human Behavior, showed that in the placebo group, 51 percent of the time a woman shared the money. Men, on the other hand, split the dough only 40 percent of the time. However, in the amisulpride group — meaning participants’ dopamine reabsorption was blocked — women divided the cash only 45 percent of the time. Surprisingly, men were willing to share 44 percent of the time — up from 40 percent in the placebo condition.
During a second study, the team looked at brain scans of participants during prosocial and antisocial behaviors. They saw that women’s brains more strongly light up in an area that deals with rewards than did men’s brains.
While study’s sample size was small and the results — though statistically significant — were relatively similar, the question of whether there are real differences in the brains of men and women is an interesting one. Experts are still divided about what the results signify, so further study is needed.
Angela Saini, the author of Inferior: How Science Got Women Wrong told The Guardian: “We know that girls and women are socially expected to behave in different ways from boys and men. We encourage girls to be kinder, gentler, and more generous because these are seen as female virtues. It shouldn’t really come as a surprise that research like this shows that women tend to show a greater reward response to this kind of behavior.”
What do you think?
h/t The Guardian