x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 18 January 2018

Gender on the agenda

John Gray summarised the difference between the sexes in one sentence: men are from Mars, women are from Venus. Now research has proven it.

A decade ago, the Australian body-language expert and pop psychologist, Allan Pease, wrote a book with the title Why Men Don’t Listen and Women Can’t Read Maps.

It became a bestseller because it rang true for anyone who had ever been in a relationship.

And now, research from the University of Pennsylvania, published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, confirms that men’s and women’s brains are wired differently – and that clichés about gender have a physiological basis.

Women have many connections between the left and right hemispheres of their brains, but men do not. Males operate in either left- or right-brain mode – meaning they are either logical or intuitive – but females combine the two, meaning they have better memory and social skills, and more developed “emotional intelligence”.

And so, the classic stereotype is correct: men are better at reading maps, but women are better at asking for directions.

But where does this get us at a time when there’s an app for everything our brains used to do? It means that Google Maps and your Satnav may be saving your marriage.