By Dr. Helen Fisher, Chief Scientific Advisor for

Single & Clueless asks, why do men seem to over simplify and women over analyze?

“Get to the point!”  He said. “Which point?”  She said.  Men and women think differently.  We all collect reams of data when we think, put these bits of information into patterns, and weigh these variables as we make decisions.  As Plato said, “When the mind is thinking; it is talking to itself.”  A committee meeting in progress in your head.   But psychologists report that when women think, they collect more data, put these factoids into more complex patterns and see more ways to proceed.  Women generalize; we synthesize; we take a more holistic, global perspective of anything we ponder.   We think in webs of factors, not straight lines–what I call “web thinking.”   Men tend to focus on the goal; many discard what they regard as extraneous information and proceed toward their decision in a more linear, causal manner—what I call “step thinking.”  Both are fine ways to cogitate.  And both strategies evolved long ago for practical reasons:  ancestral men had to focus on hitting that buffalo in the head with a rock. Women, on the other hand, had to coddle the baby, stoke the fire, build the hut, cook the supper and do myriad other things—all at once.   As a result, the female brain has more long-distance connections between parts, while the male brain is more compartmentalized to do its focused work.   But this brain architecture can cause trouble. Men can think that a woman is scatterbrained and indecisive, while women often regard men tunnel-visioned and abrupt.   I suppose both are right, to a degree.  But both strategies are equally good; indeed they have enabled our forebears to survive—together.   Men and women are like two feet:  we need each other to get ahead.

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