Men aren't heartless - it's all in the mind

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The Independent Online

Men who forget crucial moments in their emotional lives now have the ultimate excuse – their brains are just not built to recall things that women find easy to remember. A study has found that women think differently to men, at least in terms of how they recall events that have a strong emotional component, such as a row with their boyfriend.

Men who forget crucial moments in their emotional lives now have the ultimate excuse – their brains are just not built to recall things that women find easy to remember. A study has found that women think differently to men, at least in terms of how they recall events that have a strong emotional component, such as a row with their boyfriend.

Men and women use different parts of their brain to create emotional memories and it is the female brain that is best able to gain access to this data bank of stored information.

Turhan Canli and colleagues at Stanford University in California used a brain scanner to see how 12 men and 12 women responded to a set of about 100 photographs ranging from images with no emotional content (a fire hydrant) to highly emotional (mutilated bodies). Men and women were found to activate different neural circuits to process the information.

Three weeks later the participants were given a surprise memory test. "Women recall more emotional autobiographical events than men in timed tests, produce memories more quickly or with greater emotional intensity in response to cues, and report more vivid memories than their spouses for events related to their first date, last vacation, and a recent argument," the scientists say in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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