Thursday, March 06, 2008

Boys and Girls are Biologically Different

In a stunning paper released this week by researchers at Northwest University and the University of Haifa, it was revealed that differences in language skills between girls and boys appears biological, rather than social, in nature. The full article can be found here.

For the first time, it seems, there is robust data to suggest that the brains of girls actually operate differently than the brains of boys. In the two groups, not only did different parts of the brain become active when using language skills, the level of activity in those parts of the brain differed drastically.

"Our data indicates that boys and girls are biologically different," said Dr. Obvious, one of the co-authors of the study. "This is exciting because it suggests that there might be other biological differences between boys and girls, perhaps even at the level of chromosomes. Who knows how these differences will manifest themselves in the phenotype? There may be actual physical differences between boys and girls due to their underlying biology."

Using functional magnetic resonance imaging, the researchers performed tests measuring the brain activity of those doing spelling or writing language tasks. What they found was that the brain area associated with abstract thought worked the hardest in girls, and the area associated with sensory perception worked the hardest in boys.

"Dude, it was so boring," moaned Quintin, a 13 year old boy who took part in the study. "After about 30 minutes, all I could think about was a hot beef'n cheddar from Arby's. I wanted it so bad I could taste it, but I would have settled for some ding-dongs."

"I loved the words and phrases," bubbled Patty, an 11 year old girl who also took part in the testing. "They made me think of a pasture in Ireland or maybe Wisconsin where there is a girl who lives on a farm and is in love with a boy who looks like Zac Efron. He really likes her, too, but they don't know it and end up asking other people to the dance. They spend the whole night ignoring each other until both of their dates get sick, and they have to dance together for the final song. During that dance, they look into each other's eyes, and realize how deeply they care for each other. But just before they kiss, someone runs in and says that the Jones' barn is on fire and the guy who looks like Zac gets called off to help put it out," Patty sighed. "You know, sorta like Anne of Green Gables, but with the guy from High School Musical. He is sooo hot."

"What's really amazing about these results is that they held true even though we controlled for things like age, gender, and performance accuracy," said Dr. Bozzo, lead researcher and director of the center for language science. When asked if the study controlled for the crazy thoughts that zip through the head of a child at an alarming frequency, Dr. Bozzo replied that they had not yet proven such a thing even exists.

"The results of this study do not in any way undermine the hard work we have done to prove we are just as capable as men on any and every level," said Sarah Paxson, junior political science major and president of the Feminine Equality League at Northwest University, when asked about the implications of the study. "If anything it shows that we bring needed insight into a world dominated by the confused thinking of men."

When also asked about the implication of the study, Brian Landman, a sophomore biology major shouted, "Eat it, you PC hippies!" as he waved a copy of the study over his head. "Eat it and then iron my shirt. Wooooo! Sigma Phi!"


Tracy P. said...

Oh my gosh, now I'm gonna have to pull myself together before my kids get home or they will think I have lost my mind.

But you skipped my favorite quote from the article:
"One possibility is that boys have some kind of bottleneck in their sensory processes that can hold up visual or auditory information and keep it from being fed into the language areas of the brain,"

This could explain a lot.

You better copyright this before it ends up on the Daily Show.

Benjamin said...

I liked that, too, but I couldn't figure out how to work it in. This study was a gold mine of comedic material. I'm sure the pros at the Daily Show could do much better - though I'm willing to bet the word "phenotype" would be left out.

Come to think of it, maybe I should have left it out of mine...

Stacy said...

that was flippin' hilarious. i somehow missed your doctors' names the first time through. i'm so used to just passing over the names in such "studies" :) but they made it even funnier. love the last line too. classic.

Anonymous said...

very funny.