reprints of articles published in magazines

Thursday, 4 October 2007

ever wondered why men achieve more?

Have you ever wondered why there are not as many women achievers as there are male achievers? In every field, art, science, literature, craft, religion, you name it and it is the men who out perform the women, why would that be?

If you say, that’s because women are more focussed on taking care of their family and children, then you are perfectly right. But above and beyond that there are other reasons why men outshine women, at least career wise. And it has to do with the difference in the way that men and women think.

A woman’s thinking is broad based. She interconnects things effortlessly and thinks with a wide focus. But the man’s thinking is typically deep. From all the random thoughts that run though his mind, the man chooses the one that intrigues him the most and goes on to keep thinking deeper and deeper about that subject. His thought has a narrow focus, but is highly penetrative.

Now why on earth would the man’s cognition be different from the woman’s? Ah! Yet again it is the big T factor, testosterone!

At conception all foetuses are built in the default Female Design. That is why even those kids genetically designated as Male (with the forty five X and the single Y chromosome) are also provided with nipples that they have no need for.

But this All Female model is changed at the sixth week of uterine life. By then, the genes in the single Y chromosome of the male start expressing themselves by synthesising the big T factor. Testosterone courses through out the foetal body, imprinting the Male upon the pre-existing Female, through a process called Masculanization. To put it simply, all men are but women plus the testosterone. All the differences that exist between the man and the woman happen only after this Masculanization.

This process of Masculanization makes changes all over the foetal body. The texture of the skin, the power of the immune system, the strength of the muscles, the length of the bones, the structure of the voice box, the number of red blood cells, the capacity of the lungs, the design of the reproductive apparatus, everything is system is spared. The entire body is rewired. But the most important rewiring happens in the Brain.

The Default Female design of the brain has a large language area, hand gesture area and emotional area among other things. But the male requires special areas for hunting fitness, that would include the abilities to track moving prey precisely, to judge the speed of movement, the distance between self and the prey and to time the release of the weapon for a sure fire hit. All these abilities are collectively called Visuo-spatial skills, because these part abilities are all about Hand, Eye and Movement Co-ordination.

The humans come from the ape stock of insect eating herbivores, but later had to evolve into meat eating omnivores to survive the harsh Great Ice ages. Their insect eating herbivore heritage provided the early humans a simple brain that was absolutely no good at hunting. The human genes later evolved the Hunter Brain, to ensure their survival.

But there was a snag in this Ape Herbivore to Human Omnivore Brain Conversion. The brain was only so much; its size could not be increased too much, for the human pelvis cannot widen that much without compromising its mobility. To keep the Head: Pelvis fit good enough for easy delivery of the babies, the genes had to make a increase the brain size a bit, the pelvis size a bit and then to remove the less important functions from the Hunter Brain and replace the vacated areas with the new very-important-for-survival function: Visuo Spatial Co-ordination.

And so the men lost most of the language areas; hand gesture areas and emotion-recognition areas of their brain....they had no real use of these functions anyway. A good hunter has to remain silent. Can’t keep gesturing at chums...the prey would notice the movement and run away. And a man cannot afford to empathise with the ‘hey, please spare me man’ kind of look that the prey would give him....then he’d take pity on the prey, spare it for all its sad looks and return home empty handed. That would have been the end of the Human History.

Testosterone also engineered another major change in the Male Brain. It made the man perseverant. It made him focus deeper and deeper until he finally made his kill. But there was a snag in this too. What if the man tried all his best but was still bested by the prey, which dodged away at the last moment? Such a failure could potentially make him feel dejected, lose confidence and give up hunting for good. Now ‘Giving up after the futile chase’ would be extremely detrimental to human survival. It made genetic sense to keep the man motivated even if the chase turned futile...and so Testosterone altered the Reward Centre in the male brain. It made the man feel pleasure after every chase....even if it was futile.

Testosterone also had the additional effect of making the men aspire for dominance. For only the dominant male could get the attention of all the worthwhile females...and so whatever their activity, men liked to maximise their output and win the Brownie points for dominance rating.

All this Brain Masculanization made the men wonderful hunters. Hunting made the humans survive the vegetation-scarce Ice ages. But the Great Ice age ended some ten thousand years ago. With the ice receding away, the earth opened up with freshly evolved vegetation.

The women, who had been the food/herb gatherers from time immemorial, quickly discovered the high nutritive value of the new grainy plants. They learnt to plant these crops and reap good yields. They also learnt to tame the wild animals that hovered around the farm and breed them for personal use. The surplus yield they learnt to barter for goods that they needed but did not have. And all of a sudden civilization began.

With the women organising the societies into little kibbutzim, domesticating the animals, raising crops in the backyard and controlling their small time economy there was no need for the men to go hunting. And all these social changes happened so fast, that there was no time for the genes to redesign the brains again to suit the new living conditions. But the humans do not consider themselves intelligent for nothing.....their big brain learns to expend itself in useful ways whatever the circumstances.

There was no real hunting to do, yet the men set up virtual hunting games, set up some new targets as prey and closed in for the kill. Many occupations, sports, games, hobbies and past times that men have reflect this tendency. To this day, men call a sound business deal ‘a good kill’. That’s just how strong ancient instincts are.

And these instincts bred true in all ancient human activities. As the human populations spread, the women became more and more tied up with domestic chores. But the men were all free, with no hunting to do, now that there was ready-made meat available right at home. And so the men applied their highly evolved hunter brains to the peripheral activities like cattle rearing, soil tilling, bartering goods at trade points and defending the kibbutz from foreign invasion.

Their Every Chase is a Pleasure kind of deep-focussing brain design made the men make the most of every single job they picked up. The average women could be uniformly good in all her activities, she would sing ok, cook ok, sew ok, organise ok, raise crops ok, tend to cattle ok, run house ok and still be content with her performance.

But none of this would be ok for a man. His Point Focus, Deep Penetration, Chase is pleasure, Dominance seeking brain design makes him pick up just one line of thought, go on and on, on the same line, feel great rapture just with such thought chasing and then climb high on the dominance scale....

It is the woman who will be content with running a small time, subsistence farming kind of life style, the real Man would never be content with being small. Even if it is a simple thing like growing a cabbage, men like to make it bigger and bigger until their cabbage is the biggest in the whole world, what’s more the men would even organise a contest for Cabbage Growing and proclaim winners every year! That’s how powerful the man’s instinct for dominance is!

And so it was that the men, freed at last from the onerous job of hunting, filled their time and curious mind with picking up areas of interest and going deeper and deeper into it until they became the ultimate authority in that specialty. It is no surprise then that all the great philosophers, scientists, writers, orators, singers, poets, painters, doctors, politicians, actors, even chefs, tailors and jewellers throughout human history have all been men. Yet by large the average woman is a much better thinker, healer, leader, speaker, seamstress, actress, singer, composer, cook, and all else when compared to the average man. Despite her overall superior abilities the woman never reaches those dizzy heights of genius, because her interconnecting neurons think wide not deep. It takes a male brain to think deep. And typically such a deep thinking genius male would be a complete muddle in all other, even basic life skills. Anecdotes are plenty about such brilliant male geniuses who are absolutely clueless about other aspects of life.

It’s all thanks to the big T factor. It makes men think deep with such single-minded devotion that they reach great heights of achievement. All the achievements that the men made in every one of their chosen narrow fields eased the collective lives of the humans; every small step of each man became a giant leap for mankind.

And so it is that to live we need the women, but to live well, we need the men!


geetha said...

wow; what a clear enunciation for the eternal debate.

Natarajan said...

Dr.Shalini, Great analysis and awesome explanation!!

PARIMALA said...

Dear Dr.
So its true that females are recessive by nature?so next time when my husband demands to own the best one and asks me to take away the inferior one, I should blame it on T factor and not him 'cos that gave him an instinct for dominance??Is nature partial to one gender Dr.??

bala said...

Is it possible for human being to come out of genetically controlled behavior into conscious behavior(doing what is required at present instead of propelling y primitive instincts) for the greater benefit and better human resource utilization? If it is possible, the change can be brought with all the humans? If it can, what could be the technique/strategy to bring that? 1. Making humans more and more self aware by meditation techniques 2. Injecting bio-chemical which makes humans to think very connective (big picture level) 3. any other

balablogger said...

Would like more details on this statement - "With the women organising the societies into little kibbutzim, domesticating the animals, raising crops in the backyard and controlling their small time economy". How can you be so sure?

balablogger said...

With the women organising the societies into little kibbutzim, domesticating the animals, raising crops in the backyard and controlling their small time economy - How come you are soo sure of this statement?