Monday 7th November 2005


Research finds the answer's in your head

Concentrating too hard?
Concentrating too hard?
The old story about whether women are better drivers than men has reared its head again. The brains of men and women work differently, which is why women have fewer accidents than men, according to research conducted at the University of Bradford. Insurance companies offer lower premiums to women as a result.

The scientists looked at how well people could switch from one task to another after having their attention "fixed" on one task and found that women are significantly better than men at shifting concentration quickly, while doing tasks such as motorway driving.

Researcher and PhD student Amarylis Fox said: "Women seem to realise that they are being asked to do something new much more quickly than men. Men tend to blindly carry on with the original task."

The researchers attributed the effect to oestrogen. Fox said: "Our study suggests that oestrogens may positively influence neuronal activity in the frontal lobes, the area of the brain stimulated by tasks of attention and rule learning, which could explain the female advantage when performing these tasks."

Want more PH news like this daily - then signup for the PH newsletter here!