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Commentary: The Governor's Brain



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(Sacramento, CA)
Friday, September 24, 2010

Is the female brain different from the male brain? In her 2006 best seller, "The Female Brain," neuro-psychiatrist Louann Brizendine answers - absolutely! Not less intelligent or less capable, mind you, just different.

That difference begins in the womb. At first, every fetal brain looks female. A huge testosterone surge in the eighth week will turn this unisex brain male by killing off cells in the communication centers and growing them in the sex and aggression centers. Meanwhile, the fetal girl's brain sprouts more connections for communication and emotion.

After birth, but while she's still in diapers, estrogen "marinates" the baby girl's brain, promoting the growth of neurons that enhance observation, communication, gut feelings and caring. So while the male toddler is crashing toy trucks - his sister is more likely rocking baby dolls to sleep. A cliché, sure, but Brizendine says such behavior is hardwired in the brain.

So, brain wise - which candidate is best suited for California at this difficult juncture - the testosterone laden cortex inside Jerry Brown's skull or the estrogen saturated gray matter of Meg Whitman? Just one more question for voters to ponder.

 

Ginger Rutland writes for The Sacramento Bee opinion pages.

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