MOSCOW, November 15. /TASS/. Researchers from the Laboratory of Neurolinguistics of Higher School of Economy (HSE) have discovered that men spend more time and energy when switching between various tasks than women do, the HSE press service stated. The study was recently published in the journal Human Physiology.
Neurobiologists carried out an experiment where 140 healthy subjects took part: 69 male and 71 female volunteers aged 20 to 65 years. The participants conducted various tasks switching from one to another. For example, they sorted figures by shape (rectangular or round) and then by number (one or two). Additionally, the subjects were involved in a neuropsychological test on refocusing between tasks (D-KEFS, or Delis-Kaplan Executive Function System, Trail Making Test) and the Wechsler test for evaluating aural and visual memory (Wechsler Memory Scale).
"The study demonstrated that women managed the tasks more efficiently than men without activating some additional resources of the brain. At the same time, to effectively switch from one task to another, men need to involve additional brain channels," noted Svetlana Kuptsova, one of the authors of the study.
"One might argue and speculate on the "cherished desire" of nature," Kuptsova said. "It might be that in ancient times women had to undertake many tasks including homemaking and nursing. As a result of such multi-tasking, women’s brains picked up the ability to switch between different problems fast," she resumed. In the meantime, the researcher warns of hasty conclusions as this is a rather unproven hypothesis.
The authors of the study have noted that this particular difference is specific for men and women aged 20 to 45-50 years. Beyond that age category and towards senior years, the brain of a woman starts to spend more time and resources when switching between problems and the male brain soon ‘catches up to her speed.