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1 October 2014
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'Brain sex'

If you're a man, you may be more in touch with your feminine side than you ever guessed, and if you're woman you may occasionally think more like the lads.

A man and a woman
A BBC One television series Secrets of the Sexes explores brain sex differences.

That's the surprising news from scientists who think there are 'male brains' and 'female brains'. Study findings show that although men tend to have male brains and women tend to have female brains, it isn't always so.

Most scientists think there's no real difference between men and women when it comes to total intelligence (commonly called IQ), but there is growing evidence that men and women's brains are wired differently. This theory may explain the finding that, on average, men are at better at some things and women are better at others.

For example, studies have found that women tend to be better at empathising and men are generally better at systemising. In other words, men are often more adept at discovering the rules that govern a system. They like to get deeply involved in activities such as car repair, computing or building up an extensive music collection.

Women, on the other hand, are thought to be better at guessing other people's emotions and responding appropriately. They would be more likely to comfort you in a time of crisis.

But men and women don't always fit neatly into their respective groups. A University of Cambridge study found that 17% of men have a 'female' empathising brain and 17% of women have a 'male' systemising brain.

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