Thursday, January 19, 2006

Women and men

From today's New York Times:

[When] male subjects witnessed people they perceived as bad guys being zapped by a mild electrical shock, their M.R.I. scans lit up in primitive brain areas associated with reward. Their brains' empathy centers remained dull.

Women watching the punishment, in contrast, showed no response in centers associated with pleasure. Even though they also said they did not like the bad guys, their empathy centers still quietly glowed.

From this paper (caution: pdf) by Shane Frederick of MIT's Sloan School of Management [link via Marginal Revolution]:

Expressed loosely, being smart makes women patient, and makes men more risk seeking. This result was unanticipated and suggests no obvious explanation.

From a wonderful post by 'One African Woman' [via the 7th Carnival of the Feminists]:

Oftentimes, [women] find that they are no longer individuals, succeeding or failing in their own capacity, in their own right. Rather, they have become representative of all women, carrying the fate of every woman in their hands. The reputation of women everywhere has become their personal responsibility.

For the most part, when a man fails, he fails as an individual. But when a woman fails, she is letting down all women, she is bringing shame on all women. The stakes are so much higher for her and therefore the pressure to succeed, to not fail, so much greater.