Science

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Girls’ Brains Learn Languages Better

May 20, 2008 09:48 PM
by findingDulcinea Staff
New research explains girls' superior language skills. The findings have added to a list of reports showing girls outstripping boys in education.

30-Second Summary

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Although the past 40 years have seen numerous studies documenting the superior language skills of girls, the biological mechanism behind this ability has puzzled scientists.

However, new research suggests that girls’ linguistic adeptness is the result of greater activity in the brain areas used specifically for language encoding.

In comparison, when boys are faced with language tasks, they show a lot of activity in parts of the brain used for visual and auditory functions.

The study appears in this month’s issue of Neuropsychologia magazine.

The report could have practical applications in the classroom because it suggests that boys need to be taught language both visually and orally, while girls may be able to learn either way.

However, language isn’t the only area in which girls are excelling.

Another recent study shows that more girls participate in creative Internet activities such as blogging, posting pictures and creating Web sites.

 “I’m not surprised because girls are very creative … sometimes more creative than men. We’re spunky,” podcast host and Web site creator Martina Butler told The New York Times.

But does all the positive attention on girls reflect negatively on boys? In 2006, the press published a number of stories about how boys were falling behind in school and college, calling it a national “boy crisis.”

However, while some newspapers and magazines ran front-page stories bemoaning the intellectual performance of American males, The Washington Post countered by arguing that the “academic freefall” being reported was “largely manufactured” by the media.

Headline Links: ‘Are Women Really Better at Language?’

Related Topics: Gender in the classroom, girls on the Web and boys in crisis

‘Girls rule the Internet’
‘The Boy Crisis’

Opinions & Analysis: Girls and boys could do better

Background: Language studies in years past

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