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This question was considered unsuitable for Skeptics and I think it is more suited to BIology than Cognitive Sciences
I was reading this article which I found interesting. It is not supported with references but was an invited address for the American Psychological Association.
It makes the claim that men go to more extremes than women.
People can point to plenty of data that the average IQ of adult men is about the same as the average for women. So to suggest that men are smarter than women is wrong. No wonder some women were offended.
There are more males than females with really low IQs. Indeed, the pattern with mental retardation is the same as with genius, namely that as you go from mild to medium to extreme, the preponderance of males gets bigger.
Almost certainly, it is something biological and genetic. And my guess is that the greater proportion of men at both extremes of the IQ distribution is part of the same pattern.
Nature rolls the dice with men more than women. Men go to extremes more than women. It's true not just with IQ but also with other things, even height: The male distribution of height is flatter, with more really tall and really short men.
Another notable example of a similar claim was Lawrence Summer's speech regarding the possible reasons for dearth of women in tenured positions in science and engineering at top schools.
Summers outlined 3 possible reasons, with a major kerfuffle erupting - resulting in his firing from the job as a Harvard University President - over his presented second reason [ quotes from Wiki ]:
The second hypothesis, different availability of aptitude at the high end, caused the most controversy. In his discussion of this hypothesis, Summers said that "even small differences in the standard deviation [between genders] will translate into very large differences in the available pool substantially out [from the mean]
Summers referenced research that implied differences between the standard deviations of males and females in the top 5% of twelfth graders under various tests. He then went on to argue that, if this research were to be accepted, then "whatever the set of attributes… that are precisely defined to correlate with being an aeronautical engineer at MIT or being a chemist at Berkeley… are probably different in their standard deviations as well".
QUESTION: Are there any studies or evidence to support the claim that men have more extreme variations than women (in other words, that the trait's distribution in males have fatter tails) in a variety of traits?
Possible areas of research can be:
- Intelligence (general IQ or specific linguistic or spacial abilities)
- Physical attributes (strength, height, weight)
- personality traits
- for lack of anything better, let's take the FFM's Five:
In order for the answer to be "yes", the research needs to show fat tails in at least 5-6 traits from all 3 of the buckets above (intelligence, physical, and personality), although precise trait mix may be arbitrary and not necessarily limited to my examples, as long as 5-6 somewhat independent traits fit.
In order for the answer to be "no", at least 8 of the 11 traits above should have no fatter tails in men.
Anything else means "inconclusive".
First of all for the first 22 chromosomes (and the mitochondrial chromsome) are the same between women and men. The X and the Y together are something like 1.5% of the total DNA in the human cell. The X chromosome is also in common, so it has the same chromosomal (genetic) variations the same as women and men.
While I am not sure about the differences you point out, its for sure there are lots of differences between the biology of men and women! The reason that women's traits might have different variances than men comes from the fact that in women there are 2 X chromosomes and in men there is only one, as well as the additional Y chromosome.
If there are any singular defects in the X chromosome a man carries, it will not be balanced out in the human male. (other organisms have different sex chromosome schemes). For instance because there is a cluster of genes that help the eye see in color, women's sense of color (i.e. from their cone cells) is sometimes better than men. With 2 X chromosomes there is even the possibility of a woman who has four different color receptors in their cones.
On the other hand, why men see better in the dark (i.e. greater sensitivity in the rod cells), is possibly due to an extra Blue Rod pigment gene that remains on the Y chromosome (see above reference). This is both an accident of genetics, but also an adaptive 'choice' that men would have different visual acuities than women.
Its also known that woman and men may have different epigenetic patterns, with some epigenetic modifications coming from the mother and others from the father. This is adaptive and also not the direct result of the XY chromosomes.
Interestingly, it turns out that for the most part women's 2 X chromosomes are mosaic. That is, in each cell only one of the randomly selected X chromosomes are active. Recessive/dominant X genes are often not the case.
This could result in a greater observed genetic variance for women because when you have two chromosomes, often one of the genes is completely silenced. Women display all of the alleles of their X chromsomes, whereas men have only one X chromosome entirely, the Y chromosome being much smaller.
So in other words, I would say that while men and women actually have the same variation in their DNA sequences, there are different patterns in the X and Y Chromosomes that might create more variance in terms of what we see in women's displayed genetic traits.
At least for physical data (heigth, weight etc) you can have a look of the DINED Anthropometric database http://dined.io.tudelft.nl/dined/. Here you can find mean and standard deviation data for Dutch population studies on numerous anthropometric measures, and you can stratify the results by sex.
The biggest problem with this question, (not just here, but for everyone who asks it,) is drawing on our culturally constructed definition of maleness to look for mechanisms of genetic inheritance of what are considered "male" traits. We could measure frequency distributions of height, but we don't have a way to accurately probe any of the other qualities you listed on a genetic level. Since we can't make these mechanistic connections, any conclusions we draw would be confounded by the nature vs nurture debate.
That said, I don't know of any studies to this effect. So this isn't much of an answer to your question.
EDIT: I've been thinking about this question all day.
The sources of heritable variation within genders that could be attributed to gender differences are (1) X and Y chromosome mutations and expression profiles, and (2) heritable epigenetic gender differences.
(2) might be more difficult to argue, since the currently known mechanism for epigenetic inheritance is the same in men and women.
One way to make this problem tractable is to look at transcriptome analysis -- it's an indirect approach to this question that gets from genome to phenotype quickly.
A cursory pubmed search led me to a study in Drosophila that takes a different approach to this question. They sought out previously undetected levels of gender difference. Most current studies (and there are a lot of them, including for humans) look to quantify differences in expression between genders for specific tissues. This is a prerequisite for estimating this within-genders variation, standardized against the number of genes expressed.
So far as we can tell any difference in variability (standard deviation) in humans is cultural not genetic and thus not consistent across the species.
You are talking about something called the Variability Hypothesis, which is most often referred to in intelligence. Variability hypothesis has long been criticised for being unsupported by evidence, or in the rare cases it has been supported, it is likely to be entirely cultural since it changes drastically with culture. It also quickly runs into the problem of defining intelligence, since different skills show different distributions with large influence by culture.
There have been no studies showing a difference in variability in any physical characteristics in humans across gender that I am aware of although males and females often have different means (height for instance). Keep in mind if men have a higher average height then their variability will appear to be higher just due to boundary effects (IE you cannot have negative heights)
In biology there is the Bateman's hypothesis that males will often show more variability than females, but this is unproven and largely untested. This study also shows numerous flaws in the original work. Don't get me wrong their are species where males show much higher variability in some characters but there are also plenty where females show higher variability, meaning this is likely a situational outcome and not a general principle.
Life's Extremes: Monogamy vs. Polygamy
Why some people are more promiscuous than others is still a mystery. Even so, the mating strategy a person chooses — whether settling down with a long-term mate or just flying in for an evening — reveals much about that person as well as society, research has shown.
Some people prefer to have long-term sexual relationships with a single partner. In rare cases, that can mean one partner for life. Other individuals, not finding fulfillment in monogamous lifestyles, incessantly seek out new partners. At this opposite extreme are the likes of basketball player Wilt Chamberlain, who claimed to have slept with 20,000 women.
Most people, however, accumulate several partners over our lives in between periods of "settling down." Guys and gals struggle with the contrary instinctual urges to mate often or to secure a quality mate. Social mores, meanwhile, aim to lessen the strife that can result from unchecked sexuality.
"Without trying to simplify a complex situation too much, there's a basic tension between biology on one side and society on the other side," said psychologist Tom W. Smith. "Biology simply wants a male and a female to mate together and the female to become pregnant — that&rsquos all biology wants. But societies want to perpetuate themselves, too."
Smith is director and principal investigator of the widely cited General Social Survey (GSS) conducted by the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago, which gauges sexual attitudes and behaviors.
Battle of the sexes
Men and women start and stop relationships for various reasons. From a biological perspective of passing genes on to the next generation, human males and females, however, appear to be at cross-purposes when it comes to sex. [6 (Other) Great Things Sex Can Do For You]
"The amount of children that can be produced by a woman is much more limited than [the number] a man can father," said Smith. "If she has 100 partners, it's not going to dramatically increase the number of children she has."
Usually no more than one egg at a time is available in a woman's uterus for fertilization. A resulting pregnancy lasts nine months, during which time sex cannot yield more children. In contrast, males can ejaculate repeated loads of millions of sperm cells in a given day, any one of which can make a child.
A woman also has to invest far more in her child than the father does. "Basically in every society, the prime parenting responsibilities are put on the mother, most obviously with nursing," Smith said. "Before animal milk was supplied in place of human milk, it was absolutely essential to have a nursing mother for a child."
Women have often sought a support system for them and their young. "Having a faithful spouse is one way, or a sisterhood of relatives, and many societies do both," Smith said.
The proverbial ball and chain
Keeping couples faithful is at the root of many societal laws and customs that attempt to promote childrearing while curbing sexual desire.
"You have all these formal and informal things trying to keep this strong natural force under control, because society learned way back before in prehistory that this was something they needed to regulate or it caused all kinds of problems," Smith said.
He gave examples of "jealous spouses and cuckolded husbands," as well as "fathers who did not believe they were the parent of their partner's child and wanted to kill that offspring." Such situations did not benefit tribes or larger societal organizations. "There's no such thing as a 'free love society,'" Smith said. "There is no primitive or tribal society that doesn't have rules. Some have fairly loose rules, but most have developed strict rules. They find it's best for perpetuation of the society."
Therefore, adultery — the breaking of sexual exclusivity — has long been viewed as a moral wrong. Throughout much of history, adultery even stood as a legal wrong in accordance with major religions, Smith noted.
Your lawful husband or wife
Marriage, then, has unsurprisingly emerged as a global practice. Usually by definition, a marriage between two partners entails monogamy. When someone has multiple marriages, the parental lines of responsibility tend to be kept clear, even in polygamous "harems" — one (usually prosperous) man with many spouses. [Marriage & Divorce Statistics (Infographic)]
Yet "cheating" does occur. According to the best estimates available from studies, Smith noted that 3 percent to 4 percent of currently married people in the United States have a sexual partner besides their spouse in a given year. Overall, about 15 percent to 18 percent of ever-married people have had a sexual partner other than their spouse while married. [How to Tell If Your Partner Is Cheating]
"This [statistical information] does support the idea that infidelity is not epidemic," Smith said, despite how frequently affairs are made to seem in pop culture.
But the tabloids do seem to have one thing right: Men do cheat more than women, at a rate of about two to one, according to the GSS. This infidelity aligns with the biological arguments of men wanting to sow their seed, while women want better potential fathers and providers.
Notches on the belt
In recent decades, marriage as an institution has declined, while premarital sexual activity and the age when one enters into a first marriage have increased, studies show. Sociologists offer a number of societal reasons, from the "sexual revolution" of the 1960s to modern technologies such as the Internet opening up broader avenues of sexual selection and temptation.
Taken together, people on average now have more partners between the sheets than they used to. GSS statistics starting back in 1989 show an average of seven partners in an adult's lifetime, trending to about nine by 2002. Another way of looking at adults' single- or multi-partner-oriented lifestyles is revealed by the number of sexual partners over a five-year span.
Sex often brings with it confusion about what the partner ultimately seeks in terms of a relationship. "A sexual encounter occurs, and one partner assumes it has meaning and endurance and the other partner never assumed that from the beginning," Smith said.
But even confirmed bachelors or purposefully single women can have their ways changed. After all, this month, notorious British gigolo Russell Brand celebrates his one-year wedding anniversary to the pop singer Katy Perry.
Battle of the sexes?
The most obvious difference between the brains of men and women is overall size – men's brains are, on average, between 10 and 15 per cent larger than women's. In one recent study, neuroscientists compared the brains of 42 men and 58 women postmortem, and found that men's weighed an average of 1,378g (3lb), compared with 1,248g (2.75lb) for women. These size differences have been found repeatedly, but they emerge only when comparing large numbers of people, so some women's brains are larger than the average whereas some men's are smaller. These differences partly reflect the fact that men are generally bigger and taller than women, but they are not related to differences in intelligence.
Men and women's brains also differ in overall composition. Male brains tend to have a slightly higher proportion of white matter, whereas those of females have a higher proportion of grey matter in most parts of the cerebral cortex. Consequently, the cortex is slightly thicker in women's brains than in men's and, according to several studies, is slightly more convoluted as well. There are also sex differences in the size of individual brain structures. The hippocampus, a structure involved in memory formation, is on average larger in men than in women, as is the amygdala, which is also involved in memory, as well as emotions.
Another sexual variation is found in a structure called the third interstitial nucleus of the anterior hypothalamus. The function of this tiny structure is unknown, but research from four different laboratories has repeatedly found that it is almost twice as large in males than in females. It has also been linked to sexual orientation and gender identity: one study showed that it is more than twice as large in heterosexual males than in homosexual males, where it more closely resembles that of women another found that it is smaller in male-to-female transsexuals, and larger in female-to-male transsexuals. These studies have been criticized for their small sample sizes, and the findings have not been confirmed.
This prospective study was IRB-approved and was HIPAA-compliant. Data were acquired after written informed consent was obtained from all subjects prior to the study.
Our study was performed at a clinical research center. The study group was comprised of 208 subjects (94 men, 114 women) with overweight or obesity who were recruited over 8 years through advertisements for participation in two NIH-funded studies. Inclusion criteria for this analysis were all subjects aged 18 to 65 years. Exclusion criteria were use of anti-hypertensive or cholesterol medications, diabetes mellitus, liver disease or other chronic illnesses, smoking, estrogen or glucocorticoid use, and contraindications to MRI.
Participants underwent DXA, CT, and 1H-MRS for assessment of body composition and ectopic fat depots. An oral glucose tolerance test was performed in all subjects and fasting and 2-h glucose was assessed. Insulin was measured in 63 men and 73 women. The homeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance (HOMA-IR), a marker of insulin resistance, was assessed. Serum lipids [triglycerides, total, high density lipoprotein (HDL), and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol] were measured in all subjects. Apolipoprotein B (ApoB) was measured in 59 men and 77 women, and ApoB/LDL, a marker of atherogenicity, was calculated. Inflammatory markers [high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hsCRP) and fibrinogen] were measured in 59 men and 77 women. Metabolic syndrome was defined as by the National Cholesterol Education Program criteria (NCEP Adult Treatment Panel III) .
Main outcome measures (IHL and IMCL) have been previously reported in a subset of study subjects (62 men and 79 women) [12, 15, 19,20,21,22,23] however, none of the clinical characteristics, measures of cardiometabolic risk, and body composition have been reported in the entire cohort and no sex differences in body composition have been assessed.
Dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry (DXA)
Subjects underwent DXA (Discovery A Hologic Inc.) for assessment of total fat mass, percent body fat (%fat), lower extremity fat mass, and appendicular lean mass. The relative amount of lower extremity fat was calculated as the ratio of lower extremity fat mass over total fat mass. The relative amount of appendicular lean mass was calculated as the ratio of appendicular lean mass over total body weight. Coefficients of variation (CV) of DXA in our laboratory are 1.7% for fat and 2.4% for lean soft tissue mass.
Computed tomography (CT)
Subjects underwent single slice CT (LightSpeed Pro, GE Healthcare) of the abdomen through the mid-portion of the L4 level and the left mid-thigh. Measurements performed at the L4 level have been shown to correlate with abdominal adipose tissue volumes in men and women and with cardiometabolic risk [24, 25]. Scan parameters were standardized: 144 table height, 80 kV (abdomen), 120 kV (thigh), 70 mA (abdomen), 170 mA (thigh), gantry rotation time 2 s, 1 cm slice thickness, and 48 field of view.
Abdominal and thigh adipose tissues were identified using a threshold set for − 50 to − 250 Hounsfield units (HU) , and abdominal and thigh SAT, VAT, and thigh muscle cross-sectional areas (CSA) (cm 2 ) were separated by manual delineation. VAT/SAT was calculated to assess the relative amount of VAT. Analyses were performed using Osirix software version 3.2.1 (www.osirix-viewer.com/index.html). CV of CT in our laboratory are 2.5% for fat and 1.1% for muscle CSA.
Proton MR spectroscopy (1H-MRS)
Subjects underwent 1H-MRS of the liver to determine IHL and of the soleus muscle to determine IMCL after an overnight fast using a 3.0-T MRI system (Siemens Trio, Siemens Medical Systems). All subjects were asked to avoid moderate or vigorous exercise or high-fat diet 72 h prior to scanning. CV for measurements at our institution are 8% for IHL and 6% for IMCL quantification.
1H-MR spectroscopy of liver
For 1H-MRS of the liver, a voxel measuring 20 × 20 × 20 mm (8 mL) was placed within the right hepatic lobe, avoiding vessels or artifacts. For each voxel placement, automated optimization of gradient shimming was performed. Single breath-hold single-voxel 1H-MRS data were acquired using a point-resolved spatially localized spectroscopy (PRESS) pulse sequence without water suppression with the following parameters: TR of 1500 ms, TE of 30 ms, 8 acquisitions, 1024 data points, and receiver bandwidth of 2000 Hz.
1H-MR spectroscopy of soleus muscle
For 1H-MRS of soleus muscle, the right calf was placed in a transmit/receive quadrature extremity coil (USA Instruments, Aurora, Ohio). A voxel measuring 15 × 15 × 15 mm (3.4 mL) was placed in the soleus muscle, avoiding interstitial fat or vessels. Single-voxel 1H-MRS data was acquired using a PRESS pulse sequence with a TR of 3000 ms, TE of 30 ms, 64 acquisitions, 1024 data points, and receiver bandwidth of 1000 Hz. Frequency selective water signal suppression was used for metabolite acquisition, and unsuppressed water spectra of the same voxel were obtained for each scan with the same parameters as the metabolite acquisition except for the use of eight acquisitions. For each voxel placement, automated optimization of gradient shimming, water suppression, and transmit-receive gain were performed, followed by manual adjustment of gradient shimming targeting water linewidths of < 20 Hz.
1H-MR spectroscopy data analysis
Fitting of all 1H-MRS data was performed using LCModel (version 6.3-0K). Fitting algorithms specific for liver lipid estimates (0.9, 1.3, and 2.0 ppm) were scaled to unsuppressed water peak (4.7 ppm) and expressed as lipid-to-water ratio. For soleus muscle, IMCL (1.3 ppm) and EMCL (1.5 ppm) methylene estimates were automatically scaled to unsuppressed water peak (4.7 ppm) and expressed as lipid-to-water ratio.
JMP Statistical Database Software (version 12 SAS Institute) was used for statistical analyses. Men and women were compared using the Wilcoxon signed rank test. The Bonferroni method was used to control for multiple comparisons. Multivariate standard least squares regression modeling was performed to control for age and BMI on log-transformed data. Linear correlation analyses between body composition and measures of cardiometabolic risk were performed and nonparametric Spearman’s rank correlation coefficients are reported. Data are shown as median and interquartile range. Statistical significance was defined as a two-tailed p < 0.05, and p ≤ 0.1 was used to denote a trend.
The Difference Between Men and Women
Men and women are generally able to maintain stable core body temperatures, despite changing environments. But while our core temperature remains fairly stable, the temperature of our skin is much more variable. The extremities (hands and feet) are often the first to cool. And if your hands and feet are chilly, you'll feel cold.
Several studies have found that women's hand temperatures tend to be lower than men's. One study published in The Lancet medical journal found that on average women's hands were 2.8C lower than men's. But why? It is thought that the basic physiological differences such as size, weight and bodily proportions affect the ability of men and women to conserve heat.
Women are typically smaller and have a higher ratio of surface area to volume, which causes a rapid loss of heat.
Men tend to have a greater muscle mass than women which helps them to generate heat.
Even at rest, your muscles produce around 25% of your body's normal temperature, so more muscle mass means a greater heat production. Because of this, it is believed that women evolved a system to protect their core body temperature against freezing weather - in response to cold surroundings a woman's body reduces blood flow to the skin and extremities to maintain their core temperature at 37C. This means that women are better than men at conserving core body heat when the weather cools.
However, as most of our temperature sensors are located in the skin, women can feel cold even when their internal organs are cosy. So it's not all in your imagination. It seems that women really are genetically programmed to feel drops in temperature before their male counterparts. The ideal temperature appears to be around 2.5C warmer than men - between 24C and 25C.
Why men are more violent than women
As the world moves closer towards equality between the sexes, there is a shameful fact about men that cannot be ignored.
Have lock-out laws made a difference to alcohol induced violence.
Have lock-out laws made a difference to alcohol induced violence?
Men are statistically more likely to be violent than women. Picture: iStock/Getty Source:Getty Images
Men are overwhelmingly the perpetrators of violent crime in Australia, committing the overwhelming majority of rapes, murders and assaults. This is consistent with worldwide statistics showing that men are responsible for the vast majority of violence globally.
But what causes men to commit horrible acts, while women rarely do the same? And can anything be done to change this pattern of violence?
THE AGGRESSION DIVIDE
It’s important to note that although there is a clear delineation by sex when it comes to violent crime, men are certainly not destined to be killing machines. Most men are not violent, and we also have plenty of examples of women committing atrocious crimes.
Nevertheless, a clear sex difference has been documented cross-culturally in the way men and women display aggression.
Men are far more likely to express their aggression directly: through physical violence or verbal abuse. Women are more likely to be indirectly aggressive: to focus on damaging someone’s social standing or spreading rumours to hurt someone’s reputation.
This points to a very clear reason why men are overrepresented in violent crime statistics: male aggression is almost always in a form that is criminalised.
However, noting this difference doesn’t tell us why men act out violently. For this, we have to look at the research on complex biological and environmental factors impacting male violence.
Men are statistically more likely to be violent than women. Source:Supplied
No other hormone has such a bad reputation as testosterone — responsible for horny, sweaty teens and grumpy, risk-taking adults. However, many of the effects of this little hormone are commonly misunderstood.
You have three main life stages of experiencing testosterone as a male. Firstly, before birth the hormone helps generate the male sex organs, then — at puberty — it kicks those organs into gear. Finally, once matured, circulating testosterone plays a role in stimulating sperm production and sexual arousal.
The role of circulating testosterone in relation to aggression and violence is complicated.
Testosterone spikes when men are in competitive or challenging situations with other men, however only among men with a history of violence do we see this boost in hormones result in violence.
This is consistent with other studies, which show that among men known for their aggressive behaviour, testosterone has a clear effect in provoking hostility and violence, an effect that has also been documented in women.
However, the effect of a testosterone boost is not consistent across the male population, with studies showing a myriad of responses in men in response to testosterone in a competitive environment: some aggressive, some caring. Clearly, testosterone is no silver bullet to understanding male violence.
Other theories focus on the role of the testosterone exposure before birth, noting the masculinisation of the foetus’s brain. However, such hypotheses are notoriously difficult to test and there are no good studies showing whether this model holds water.
Ultimately, biology provides a partial but ultimately incomplete picture of why men commit violence.
What is it that makes men more violent than women? Source:Supplied
So if biology isn’t the whole answer, what about social norms?
The American Psychological Association recently issued guidelines that caution against the impact of “traditional masculinity ideology” on mental wellbeing. This ideology was defined as “upholding the values of anti-femininity, achievement, avoidance of the appearance of weakness, adventure, risk and violence”.
Some of these values are not inherently harmful, but can be when not properly balanced or when given undue emphasis in the daily lives of men.
Although the APA guidelines are not without their critics, it has been well documented that certain patterns of male violence — particularly against women and gender nonconforming men — are strongly correlated with a belief in strict gender roles.
When men hold onto a fairly narrow view of what it is to be a man, challenges to this masculine identity — such as when a partner who doesn’t wish to play the housewife or a gay man who doesn’t act as a man “should” — can lead to feelings of intense anger, ultimately resulting in violence.
We also know that some features of masculinity — stoicism, toughness and self-sufficiency — can be a barrier for men with mental health issues or troubles with aggression seeking treatment.
The result is that some men, because of their limited view of masculinity, are far more likely to act violently towards the vulnerable and to fail to seek help when they need it.
The aggression divide is complicated by the predisposition of men to certain mental disorders, in particular anti-social personality disorder (ASPD), which is defined by a pervasive and persistent disregard for morals, social norms and the rights and feelings of others.
It is not a mental illness, but a set of characteristics that correlate strongly with violence, risk-taking and crime. Symptoms of ASPD include being callous and unemotional, immorality, deviancy, deception, irritability, aggression, impulsivity and recklessness.
There are many factors involved in developing ASPD but sex is clearly one of the key ones, with men three times more likely to have the disorder than women. It’s unclear how ASPD develops or why men are more likely to have the disorder, but studies indicate a complex set of genetic and environmental interactions.
Ultimately, the sex-difference found in ASPD diagnosis probably doesn’t explain all forms of male violence — but it does give a good indication of why the worst of the worst offenders are likely to be male.
If some men reading this article are offended by the findings above, there is something that can be done about it.
Although biological predispositions are difficult to change, many key factors in male violence, including traditional masculinity ideology, can be challenged and changed for the better.
Moreover, recognising that violence is largely a male problem allows society to orient its efforts toward catching potentially violent males early and to attempt to change the risk factors that cause such shameful gender statistics.
Only by looking honestly at the causes of male violence can we hope to decrease the rate of violent crime in the community.
Do men have more extreme variations than women? - Biology
Your biology allows you to escape certain health problems. However, most health conditions affect both men and women in varying degrees and ways.
In some cases, doctors don't have a ready explanation for why certain diseases are more common in one sex than in another. In others, doctors will tell you complicated genetic, physiological and hormonal factors are at work. Read on to learn about some of the elements that link sex and health.
Many male health risks can be traced back to behavior: In general, men engage in behaviors that lead to higher rates of injury and disease. They also tend to eat less healthful diets.
However, anatomy, hormones and genes also play roles in men's increased risk for these diseases:
Heart disease. Among men age 65 and over, more than 39% have heart disease, compared to about 27% of women in the same age group.
Why: While women's bodies tend to be pear-shaped, men’s bodies are generally apple-shaped. When women gain weight, it often lands on their hips and thighs.
"Men almost always put weight on around the middle," says Pamela Strauss, MD, an internal medicine physician at Rush. "And we know this type of body fat, known as visceral, is a heart disease risk factor that many women simply don't share."
Also, men don't have the protection of estrogen. Estrogen may keep women's cholesterol levels in check, reducing a key heart disease risk factor. However, once women hit menopause, their heart disease risk goes up.
Parkinson's disease. This disabling neurological disease affects about 50% more men than women.
Why: Researchers suggest that this may also have to do with estrogen, which protects neurological function by activating certain proteins or interacting with molecules called free radicals. Men's relative lack of estrogen leaves them with less protection.
Several studies have also pointed to the possibility that Parkinson's disease has a genetic link to the male X chromosome.
Males are also more at risk for the following:
When you talk with doctors about women's health risks, anatomy and hormones often come up. Here are a few examples:
Stroke. Each year in the U.S., about 55,000 more women have strokes than men.
Why: Many factors play into this statistic, but estrogen is chief among them.
Women may not be aware of the effect estrogen has on stroke risk. They might know that birth control pills, hormone replacement therapy and pregnancy raise risk, but they may not understand the underlying mechanism, which is shifting estrogen levels.
Those changes in levels of estrogen, not the estrogen itself, affect the substances in blood that cause clots. More activity results in more clotting, and that can lead to a higher risk of stroke.
Osteoporosis. Nearly 80% of the estimated 10 million Americans who have osteoporosis are female.
Why: Women start out with thinner, smaller bones and less bone tissue than men. Through most of their lives, women's bones are protected by estrogen, which may block a substance that kills bone cells.
However, when women begin to lose estrogen during menopause, it causes loss of bone mass (osteoporosis). This loss takes a toll: Nearly 50% of women over 50 will break a bone because of osteoporosis.
Females are also more at risk for the following:
I have many female patients who say their husbands just don't go to the doctor. We need to get those men in to be sure they are taking care of their health.
Equality, with a difference
Although it strikes men and women in nearly equal numbers and generally affects them in the same ways, it raises heart disease risk in women more than in men.
However, the diabetes risk for women was lower to start with. Diabetes adds an extra risk factor for women and essentially puts them at the same risk for heart disease as men.
Women have higher rates of depression, but men have higher suicide rates.
This paradox may have more to do with the way we define and diagnose depression than anything else, says Strauss. "We may find that if we add questions about rage, substance abuse and risk-taking behaviors to our depression questionnaire, we'd identify more males at risk."
Protecting your health is gender neutral
Men and women basically need to do the same things to take care of themselves — at the core that means living a healthy lifestyle.
"Eat a healthy diet, exercise and don't smoke," says Strauss. "That could be as simple as adding 15 minutes of walking to your day or putting a few extra fruits and vegetables on your plate."
Of course, it's also important to address any health concerns you have. Your doctor should know your family's health history, and you should know your key numbers (such as blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar and BMI).
This is also where gender plays a role. Women go to the doctor more often than men, Strauss says. "I have many female patients who say their husbands just don't go to the doctor," she says. "We need to get those men in to be sure they are taking care of their health."
Because human muscle tissue is made up of the same thing regardless of gender, all human muscle responds to stimulation in the same way. If a woman trains with weight that meets her thresholds, she will gain strength at the same rate as a man who trains at the same level of intensity, relative to his threshold.
Progressive overload, or the idea of periodically increasing resistance load to challenge the limits of strength, is key to building strength and power both men and women can achieve this.
It can be seen, however, that women tend to match the strength of men more closely in lower body muscles than in upper body muscles. For examples, squats and lunges come easier to women than push-ups or pull-ups.
The Role of the Mind versus the Brain
Of course, the brain and the mind are also two different things.
The brain is the physical structure in your head that is composed of grey and white matter. It has neurons firing within it and uses neurotransmitters as chemicals messengers.
The brain can be thought of as your central processor, because it integrates and facilitates all of the functions within your body.
As noted by Julie Bakker (lead researcher in the MRI study above) and others, brain structure and activation patterns present along a spectrum.
The mind, on the other hand, is the conscious product of that biological activity that creates emotions, ideas, memories, interpretations, and creative thought.
It determines your personality, plays a role in how you prefer to present, and impacts how you interact with the world. The mind plays a central role in your gender identity.
What they say
Cambridge University psychologist and autism expert Simon Baron-Cohen:
"The female brain is predominantly hard-wired for empathy. The male brain is predominantly hard-wired for understanding and building systems"
Writer and feminist Joan Smith:
"Very few women growing up in England in the late 18th century would have understood the principles of jurisprudence or navigation because they were denied access to them"
John Gray, author of Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus:
"A man's sense of self is defined through his ability to achieve results. A woman's sense of self is defined through her feelings and the quality of her relationships"
Sociologist Beth Hess:
"For two millennia, 'impartial experts' have given us such trenchant insights as the fact that women lack sufficient heat to boil the blood and purify the soul, that their heads are too small, their wombs too big, their hormones too debilitating, that they think with their hearts or the wrong side of the brain. The list is never-ending"