My Executive


    Aug 26, 2013

    Women can't read maps? That's just a gender-related myth

    Neuroscientist Philip Tsang has more than 10 years of research and developmental experience studying genetics and brain fitness.

    Dr Tsang, who is the chief scientist at Brand's Health Centre, debunks some myths surrounding the differences between male and female brains.

    How do male brains differ from women's?

    So far, there is no concrete evidence showing gender-dependent differences in their cognitive abilities.

    Research has shown that cognitive performance is influenced by multiple factors, such as age, sex, rearing conditions and previous experiences, and is highly variable among individuals.

    How these factors affect the cognitive performance is still not clearly defined.

    On average, men's brains are 8-10 per cent bigger than women's brains. Does the size of one's brain relate to intelligence?

    No. Cognitive ability is not dependent on the size of the brain.

    Research has revealed that across the main spectrums of memory, concentration, language, creative and spatial abilities, men and women are almost equally balanced, in spite of the difference in brain size.

    What are some things that men excel in and what are some things that women excel in?

    Men and women can both excel in a variety of fields.

    Since their cognitive abilities are determined by various other factors, we cannot differentiate what each excels in based purely on sex.

    What are the differences between the left and the right brain?

    Regardless of personality or skill set, you use both the right and left hemispheres of your brain to perform everyday tasks.

    Although certain functions, such as speech production, handedness and facial recognition, tend to be dominated by one side of the brain in the great majority of people, most tasks require parallel input from both hemispheres.

    Unless an entire hemisphere is completely removed or damaged, no one is considered to be fully right- or left-brained.

    Are the stereotypes that women cannot read maps, or that they cannot do maths, backed up by science?

    It's just a gender-related myth.