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Oct 17, 2011

Males, Females, the 6th sense and Money!

Written by Dr. Caroline Leaf

Before I launch into this blog, I want to remind you that a difference between a man and a woman is not a value judgement; it does not expose weakness between males and females, rather it celebrates uniqueness.

So now let me tell you about a great structure that we (males and females both!) have in the brain called the insula. The insula helps translate physical sensations and thoughts in our subconscious mind into conscious thoughts with attached emotions. So working with the rest of the brain, the insula helps us anticipate what something will feel like before it happens, like the proverbial “gut-feel” or “6th-sense”.

The insula is larger in the female, which makes ladies more sensitive to existing and anticipated situations. A woman will quickly, for example, draw on past memories of financial situations (or any situation for that matter!) and bring them into the present scenario, which almost collapses time, making it more difficult for her to take risks. The male insula, on the other hand, is more geared to strategically reading the environment and actions, making it easier for him to take risks. These are complementary ways of thinking things through, so neither males or females alone will have the full answer; together we are exponentially better! A woman predominately provides the emotional colour and details, while a man predominantly provides the strategy and action.

Another area of the brain called the Anterior Central Gyrus (ACG) enables men and women to shift between thoughts, weigh up options and make predictions. The ACG is bigger in a female, which enables her to integrate and consider many scenarios; this is assuming she is not harboring toxic thoughts, in which case she will get “stuck” in an event or thought pattern. Men’s ACGs are smaller and operate in a more focused manner, getting “bottom-line-big-picture” information quickly. If a man is operating from toxic thoughts, he will not weigh up options sufficiently and will act too quickly. Thus, the smaller ACG helps men see reason and logic quicker, and the larger ACG in women helps them see detail and emotional nuance quicker–both are important in any decision making and in life!

So when we combine these two opposite, but nevertheless equal, types of thought and apply it to financial investment–whether it is between husband and wife or business colleagues–the best investment can be achieved.

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