Friday, January 13, 2012

No News Flash — Women Are More Compassionate than Men

I've been looking for new neuroscientific research about the connection between negative self-talk, which is actually negative thinking about one's self, and emotion, which is usually negative to coincide with the thinking. Still haven't found it in any brain imagery stuff, but it must be right around the corner, or hidden in the past where I've not found it yet.

OK. Friday's post may not be as fascinating as I promised on Wednesday, but it is new neuroscience, related to women and gender differences; "Study of Emotion: Women's Brains are Wired for Compassion." http://www.miller-mccune.com/culture-society/women%E2%80%99s-brains-are-wired-for-compassion-30951/

Here's the gist. Brain imagery demonstrates that women have higher reactivity to pictures of people in hardship or difficult circumstances than men.
 “The present findings indicate that women accomplish the complex emotional-cognitive process defined as compassion through a more elaborate brain processing than men by engaging prefrontal and cingulated cortices,” the researchers write. “The results agree with gender differences reporting a greater emotional sensitivity in women when viewing aversive and suffering situations.”

Do some of you disagree with this label of women's greater emotional sensitivity? I'd be surprised. Not that I'm saying men are insensitive. They are sensitive to different things than women. Women are more PFR, people, feelings, and relationships. Men are more BMS, business, money and sports.

I'm wondering how much money went into this study of 12 men and 12 women that told us something that probably has been known, without such/much scientific validation, since cave people days. However, as I mentioned on Wednesday, acquiring facts about what has been seen as common sense, or even stereotype, creates impact. I also mentioned that I preferred research that produced suggestions for action, which this research accomplished. Here's the finale of the article: "So ladies: When the men in your life seem insensitive to suffering, try not to respond with scorn. The problem, according to this study of emotion, is one of brain circuitry. It shouldn’t be hard to take pity on them; after all, you have an enormous capacity for compassion."

I'm left wondering. Does all the hoopla about neuroplasticity (brain capacity for growth and new learning) mean that we should assume that brain circuitry is changeable? If it is, with choice, theoretically women could choose and practice less compassion and men could do the opposite? But how do we go about doing that? I felt very compassionate for the overtime Stanford kicker in the Fiesta bowl and the overtime Virginia Tech kicker in the Sugar Bowl. Both sort of lost the game for their team. ARGH! But what a waste of my emotional circuitry and compassion. I had no control, marginal interest, and more emotional engagement than wanted or needed. The circumstances required detachment which I can do well in many situations, but not all.  Moderating emotions and choosing thinking styles are both still challenging tasks in my and probably your development.
No News Flash — Women Are More Compassionate than MenSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

No comments:

Post a Comment

Tell me what you think!