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March 6, 2013

Study: Women’s brains are smaller—but more efficient

Daily Briefing

A new study finds that men and women have equivalent brainpower because women use their brains—which tend to be smaller in size than men’s brains—more efficiently.

Previous research has suggested a difference in size between male and female brains. For the study, which was published in the journal Intelligence, University of California researchers studied several male and female hippocampuses, the area of the brain that houses emotion and memory function.

Researchers found that a man’s larger hippocampus increased the presence of neurons, indicating higher intelligence. However, a woman's smaller hippocampus uses less energy and fewer brain cells to achieve the same results, indicating equivalent brainpower to that produced by larger male brains.  

"At this structural level, females might show greater efficiency requiring less neural material for achieving behavioral results on par with males," the study says (Chasmar, Washington Times, 3/4).

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