Are male and female brains different? Yes, they are, indeed.
While some brain features are more or less common or even almost identical, there are some key differences. These features explain that females and males behave and react in characteristic but also different ways.
A new research presents a new example that women are more generous than men, because the female human brain reacts more strongly to prosocial and selfish behavior than the male brain.
For women, prosocial behavior triggers a stronger reward signal and they, for example, share a sum of money more generously than men, while men demonstrate much more selfish behavior.
The striatum, located in the middle of the brain, is responsible for the assessment of reward and is active whenever a decision is made. The stratium is more strongly activated in female brains during prosocial decisions than during selfish decisions.
By contrast, selfish decisions led to a stronger activation of the reward system in male brains.
Lead author Dr. Alexander Soutschek from the University of Zurich, Switzerland. said that “these results demonstrate that the brains of women and men also process generosity differently at the pharmacological level.”
However, the results of the second part of experiments surprised researchers.
When the reward system was disrupted by administering medication to the participants, women surprisingly behaved more selfishly, while men became more prosocial.
“The reward and learning systems in our brains work in close cooperation,” according to researchers.
Empirical studies show that girls are rewarded with praise for prosocial behavior, implying that their reward systems learn to expect a reward for helping behavior instead of selfish behavior. With this in mind, the gender differences that we observed in our studies could best be attributed to the different cultural expectations placed on men and women.”
The study appears in the journal Nature Human Behavior.