(Telegraph) Female sex hormones may help women multi-task, say scientists
Women really do multi-task better than men, and it may be because of female sex hormones, a new study suggests.
Swiss scientists asked 83 volunteers to walk on a treadmill while performing a tricky language test which engaged the left side of their brain.
The researchers found that for men, and menopausal women, there was a marked reduction in the ability to swing the right arm, a part of movement which aids balance.
But remarkably, younger pre-menopausal women were almost completely resistant to the effect.
The researchers believe that female sex hormones, acting on the brain may underlie this ability to multi-task by women.
And as those hormones deplete in later life, women may find multi-tasking as tricky as men, the study suggests.
“We know that the left hemisphere of the brain is responsible for both the verbal task and the control of arm swing on the opposite side of the body,” said doctoral student Tim Killeen, University Hospital Balgrist.
“In men and older women, the verbal task appears to overwhelm the left brain to the extent that the movement of the arm on the right is reduced.
“We were surprised to find such a consistent gender difference in how two relatively simple behaviours – cognitive control and arm swing – interact with one another.