Men and women, reason and emotion: Are we really different?


The answer, as it usually is for these questions, is yes and no at the same time. Additionally, it can be pointed out that, through different routes, we can reach the same results.

The debate remains: reason or emotion? And if you are looking for a balance, what is the best combination? In the business world, sentimental visions of emotion prevailed at the beginning of the last century, until in the 1970s rationalisation became the ideal basis. Also, the discussion extends more than one branch when it seeks to propose a differentiation by genders: to which of the two tend to lean men and women?

Professor Daphna Joel of Tel Aviv University points out that we have intersex brains, which means that there is no structural difference between the brain compositions of men and women. However, some researchers have shown that the connections between the left hemisphere and the right are quite different between genders: women have a dense network, while men reduce their connections. This returns to the first more able to relate the intuitive to the analytic; And the second most likely to better coordinate perception and action.

In other words, it can be said that, while women have more cables, men have more processors. This difference, however, does not mark superior brain performance for none: beyond gender both have different cognitive tools to build the structure of their thinking machine. This position is also endorsed by the psychologist Richard Haier of the University of California, who says that women, for example, are more sensitive to emotional expressions of pain or sadness, whereas, in situations of risk, men take a more analytical.

Beyond gender and beyond our natural brain inclinations, it is necessary to find the right balance between reason and emotion through moderation.

On the other hand, the famous neurologist of Portuguese origin, Antonio Damasio, reminds us that all experiences have an emotional mark since the processes of knowledge depend on the evaluation of feelings. Learning and decisions, however rational they may be, ultimately depend on our emotions to be effective.

Thus, there are two components that can delimit the effectiveness in the brains making their different capacities profitable. On one side is the calling “chameleon effect” or the faculty that we possess to put us in the position of the other; And, secondly, is the ability to regulate our emotions, which arises as a necessity in the face of the incompatibility of an excess of the same, whether within social, family, sentimental or business relations.

While cooperation as a strategy is always positive, it is not the same with the repression of our feelings. An extreme cognitive regulation of our emotions causes them to escape somewhere, becoming pessimism, depression or a deteriorated opinion about ourselves (low self-esteem).

In conclusion, beyond gender and beyond our natural brain inclinations, it is necessary to find the right balance between reason and emotion through moderation, since an out-of-control regulation can generate neurotic disorders. Emotions should be handled healthily and this is an exercise that can be learned and even perfected over time and practice.

If you analyse your way of being, could you assure that you have a balanced emotional health?