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When it Comes to Brains, Size Matters


Narrator: This is Science Today. Popular belief has been that women have better language skills than men, but a three year study co-led by psychologist Christine Chiarello of the University of California, Riverside has found this is not the case.

Chiarello: Some people have argued that the structures - particularly in the left side of the brain that support language might be larger in women than in men. There are also reports that the corpus callosum, which is the structure that connects the two sides of the brain - that that structure might be larger in women than in men.

Narrator: Their study found that these apparent sex differences in the sizes of these different areas were entirely due to brain size, not to sex.

Chiarello: So, in other words, big brained people tend to have a corpus callosum that's smaller and small brained people tend to have a corpus callosum that's bigger. Because women tend to have smaller brains, you might look at that data and say, "oh, women have a larger corpus callosum." But in fact, when we removed the effects of brain size, we found no sex differences.

Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.