Why Girls’ Brains Mature Faster Than Boys’ Brains

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It’s always been conventional wisdom that girls reach maturity more quickly than boys, but now scientists have provided some proof.

In new research published in the journal Cerebral Cortex, an international group of researchers led by a team from Newcastle University in England found that girls’ brains march through the reorganization and pruning typical of normal brain development earlier than boys’ brains. In the study, in which 121 people between ages 4 to 40 were scanned using MRIs, the scientists documented the ebb and flow of new neural connections, and found that some brain fibers that bridged far-flung regions of the brain tended to remain stable, while shorter connections, many of which were redundant, were edited away. And the entire reorganization seemed to occur sooner in girls’ brains than in boys’ brains.

Females also tended to have more connections across the two hemispheres of the brain. The researchers believe that the earlier reorganization in girls makes the brain work more efficiently, and therefore reach a more mature state for processing the environment. What drives the gender-based difference in timing isn’t clear from the current study, but the results suggest that may be a question worth investigating.

10 comments
DarylBrunt
DarylBrunt

What a POINTLESS Study...If society and scientists just opened their eyes it would be quite simple to understand. 

Women are designed to mature mentally and emotionally earlier BECAUSE they are suppose to date and marry guys who are OLDER.  For example: 16 yr old women are not suppose to date 16 yr old men. Modern society has this view on similar ages in school and education before marriage blah blah, however our underlining subconscious views and physiology doesnt care for this. 16-22 yr old women are the best mothers for 20-28 yr old men. its common sense and shown through out history. the offset of AGES gives them the best stability and survival rates for a population to grow and succeed. That and the older males are more established. (yes I know the specific ages may be a little off, but people understand the premise. the MEDIA view has caused issues. Education originally was not designed to be how it is today)

mzzshirley
mzzshirley

Man smart but the woman smarter!

JimDooley
JimDooley

I don't see any link to the actual study, but it's unlikely these authors found a true "difference" the way it is being interpreted here. What they are likely talking about is an effect of sex that explains a very small percentage of the variation, with a great deal of overlap between the sexes. This is the nature of all sex differences in the brain. You would not be able to identify anyone as male or female just by looking at their data from this study, and you need to scan a hundred people to detect the difference statistically.


I think it is important to understand that no measurements of the brain, such as connectivity, size, etc., have ever produced data that cluster neatly with regard to sex. Any "differences" are not visible at the individual level and do not actually differentiate the sexes. Testing for a sex difference is only a way to get a very rough idea of the factors that contribute to overall variation, and many have argued that sex is one of the weakest and therefore most uninteresting factors that shape the brain. Our expectations and stereotypes make sex "differences" much bigger and more interesting than they really are, unfortunately.


The reader who commented that girls' brains mature earlier because they are smaller actually has a good point, and this is the most likely explanation for the finding (but again, I cannot find the actual paper).





JohnGault
JohnGault

Well of course girls brains mature sooner,  They only have half  the brains boys have.

BrianDowner
BrianDowner

Well since the compulsive lying , exaggerated and false accusations along w/ delusional view of reality are considered fully mature , you can keep you're description of so called maturity for yourself !

darkmax1974
darkmax1974

Odd.... isn't shorter connections supposed to be more efficient?

PH
PH

Not surprising but bad article.  The study ONLY states that more connections are made at different ages between girls and boys. It also then states ""The loss of connectivity during brain development can actually help to improve brain function by reorganising the network more efficiently. Say, instead of talking to many people at random, asking a couple of people who have lived in the area for a long time is the most efficient way to know your way.  In a similar way, reducing some projections in the brain helps to focus on essential information."

So the author is making a broad conclusion, that more connections makes a brain more mature. Whilst the study mention that pruning is done to achieve a more streamlined approach.  If boys make less connections they have less to prune.

haehc
haehc

@DarylBrunt it isn't a pointless study, if you were a scientist making that observation based on nonsensical thoughts with no solid evidence, you would be a laughing stock. Scientists base their observations on research and information 

kps
kps

@BrianDowner Sounds like somebody isn't having too much luck with the ladies...