Navigation Links
Sex difference on spatial skill test linked to brain structure
Date:12/17/2008

Men consistently outperform women on spatial tasks, including mental rotation, which is the ability to identify how a 3-D object would appear if rotated in space. Now, a University of Iowa study shows a connection between this sex-linked ability and the structure of the parietal lobe, the brain region that controls this type of skill.

The parietal lobe was already known to differ between men and women, with women's parietal lobes having proportionally thicker cortexes or "grey matter." But this difference was never linked back to actual performance differences on the mental rotation test.

UI researchers found that a thicker cortex in the parietal lobe in women is associated with poorer mental rotation ability, and in a new structural discovery, that the surface area of the parietal lobe is increased in men, compared to women. Moreover, in men, the greater parietal lobe surface area is directly related to better performance on mental rotation tasks. The study results were published online Nov. 5 by the journal Brain and Cognition.

"Differences in parietal lobe activation have been seen in other studies. This study represents the first time we have related specific structural differences in the parietal lobe to sex-linked performances on a mental rotation test," said Tim Koscik, the study's lead author and a graduate student in the University of Iowa Neuroscience Graduate Program. "It's important to note that it isn't that women cannot do the mental rotation tasks, but they appear to do them slower, and neither men nor women perform the tasks perfectly."

The study was based on tests of 76 healthy Caucasian volunteers -- 38 women and 38 men, all right-handed except for two men. The groups were matched for age, education, IQ and socioeconomic upbringing. When tested on mental rotation tasks, men averaged 66 percent correct compared to 53 percent correct for women. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) revealed an approximately 10 percent difference between men and women in the overall amount of parietal lobe surface area: 43 square centimeters for men and 40 square centimeters for women.

"It's likely that the larger surface area in men's parietal lobes leads to an increase in functional columns, which are the processing unit in the cortex," said Koscik. "This may represent a specialization for certain spatial abilities in men."

The findings underscore the fact that not only is the brain structure different between men and women but also the way the brain performs a task is different, said Peg Nopoulos, M.D., a study co-author and professor of psychiatry and pediatrics at the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine.

"One possible explanation is that the different brain structures allow for different strategies used by men and women. While men appear able to globally rotate an object in space, women seem to do it piecemeal. The strategy is inefficient but it may be the approach they need to take," said Nopoulos, who also is a psychiatrist with University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics.

"The big question remains whether this is nature or nurture. On the one hand, boys, compared to girls, may have opportunities to cultivate this skill, but if we eventually see both a strong performance and parietal lobe structural difference in children, it would support a biological, not just environmental, effect," Nopoulos added.


'/>"/>

Contact: Becky Soglin
becky-soglin@uiowa.edu
319-335-6660
University of Iowa
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. An ESC statement on gender differences in medical care and survival after myocardial infarction
2. Jessica Biel and Make The Difference Network Bring Holiday Cheer to Childrens Hospital Los Angeles
3. Large health differences between population groups in Norway
4. Money motivates doctors to reduce ethnic differences in heart disease treatments
5. Traditional Medicare vs. Medicare Advantage Plans: Allsup Finds Knowing the Differences Means Savings for People with Disabilities
6. No Difference in Rate of Survival for Children of Different Races Undergoing Liver Transplantation, but Long-Term Results Not as Good for African-American Adults
7. Majority of voters say election outcome will make a great deal of difference on key issues
8. Towson Student Wins Courage Award, Turns Facial Differences Into Positive Tool
9. Researchers find differences in swallowing mechanism of Rett syndrome patients
10. Gender differences and heart disease
11. States Scorecard Finds Big Differences in Kids Health Care
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:6/28/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... June 28, 2017 , ... ... consulting firm servicing communities throughout the greater Cincinnati metropolitan area, is teaming up ... temporary lodgings for families with children receiving treatment in nearby hospitals. , Ronald ...
(Date:6/27/2017)... ... June 27, 2017 , ... DrugDev understands that for many ... trust the sponsor to pay them correctly and on time. As the search for ... strategies that encourage sites to work on their studies. , At a complimentary live ...
(Date:6/27/2017)... ... June 27, 2017 , ... The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) ... and replace the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), would result in ... be expected under current law. , More than 20 million Americans have gained health ...
(Date:6/27/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... June 27, 2017 , ... A January ... been projected to reach a staggering $6.81 billion by the year 2024 according to ... at a faster rate than those made from titanium. Los Angeles area clinic Beverly ...
(Date:6/27/2017)... , ... June 27, 2017 , ... ... to contribute to an upcoming case studies guidebook. This guidebook offers an excellent ... This book will include articles, case studies and how-to’s that fall into the ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/2/2017)... , June 2, 2017  NxStage Medical, Inc. (Nasdaq: ... care, today announced new findings demonstrating positive biochemical outcomes ... System One™. The data will be presented at ... Madrid, Spain . ... Improve Home Dialysis Network in Europe ...
(Date:5/30/2017)... 30, 2017 Hill-Rom Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: HRC), will ... Healthcare Conference on Tuesday, June 13, 2017, in ... Hill-Rom,s president and chief executive officer, is scheduled to present ... webcast can be accessed at http://ir.hill-rom.com/events.cfm . A recorded ... live event through September 13, 2017. ...
(Date:5/26/2017)... , May 26, 2017  Endo International plc (NASDAQ: ... , President and CEO, will represent the Company in a ... Healthcare Conference on Tuesday, June 13, 2017 at 10:40 a.m. ... at Terranea Resort in Rancho Palos Verdes, CA. ... for the event will be available on the Company,s website ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: