Scientists estimate our species (Homo sapiens) developed language approximately 250,000 years ago. Today men talk differently than women because their brains evolved differently over the past quarter-million years. Men were the hunters and concentrated on ways to effectively stalk, kill and transport home the catch-of-the-day for the family group or tribe. Hunting was serious business and required physical endurance, but it did not require much talking.
While the men were away on the daily hunt, the women tended the children and worked in groups for safety while gathering roots, berries, nuts, etc. They talked much of the time while doing their chores and improved their relationship within the group of women.
At the end of the day when the family came together in a cave, hut or wherever they slept. There was not much discussion between men and women due to few shared interests other than security, eating, sex and sleep. (Has this changed much today?) This daily living pattern was quite consistent and made a distinctive difference in how men's and women's brains developed differently to process language.
Researchers using brain imaging technology have identified differences in the brains of men and women. Males talking and listening primarily use only the left hemisphere of their brains. However, the brains of women showed activity on both the left and right brain hemispheres when they speak. This difference indicates that females have much more capacity and complexity in dealing with language. School teachers have well known that girls from an early age have stronger language skills than boys.
Recent human lifestyle is very different than how our millions of ancestors lived. Men and women today tend to maintain the old style of talking patterns because the brain has not had time to evolve to fit today's lifestyle. Much like in the computer world, all too often we are using obsolete hardware and software to do a new job. Here is a comparison of how men and women talk differently:
© Copyright 2005, revised 2009 by Lawrence Rodrigues, M.S., Director: EastWest Institute for Self-Understanding.
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