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Gender Differences in Language Processing

 Sex differences have been observed in several areas (Sousa, 2008). Researchers have observed sex differences in cognitive functions, and the structure of the brain.  Researchers associate sex differences to a number of factors. They associate sex differences to factors like genetic factors, hormonal factors, and environmental factors. Sex differences in the brain play various roles. For example, the sex differences play roles in the learning process. In addition, sex differences play crucial roles in language development. The researchers have used various techniques like Functional magnetic resonance (fMRI) to identify sex differences in the brain.

FMRI is used to measure brain activation by measuring the blood flow. The technique allows researchers to measures the activity of the brain, and intensity of the activity. There are sex variations in the amount of grey mater in the brain. For example, women have a high percentage of grey matter in the brain than men (Sousa, 2008). This makes it easy for women to have high- cognitive functioning. The brain plays important roles in language processing. For example, sex differences in the brain make men and women process language activities differently. Researchers argue that sex differences in the brain influence language processing in men, and women differently. This is because women have estradiol sex hormone that has modulatory effects in females. The hormone affects neurological processing like language activities in women. For example, when the hormone level is low, women have irregularities when processing language using the left and right hemispheres of the brain. When the hormone level is high women process language tasks well using the right and left part of the brain  than men . There are no similar effects in men. In addition, sex hormones play a different role in organizing the functions of the brain, and language processing (Sousa, 2008).

 Moreover, the researchers argue that, there are sex differences in retrieving and processing of information using the semantic memory. The differences occur in memory and meaning of words. The brain plays an important role in retrieving, and processing of information. The processes are different between men and women (Sousa, 2005). According to a recent study on semantic retrieval, men showed higher frontal brain activation than women. The estradiol hormone in women affects semantic retrieval of information. High levels of the hormone enhance brain activation, and low levels make the retrieval process slow. The study showed that semantic retrieval of information is affected by hormones. In the study women showed bilateral activation in the posterior brain, but men showed a lateralized activation on the left posterior (Sousa, 2005).

Moreover, women showed activation on the left and right side of the brain during language processing. Thus, the brain plays an important role in creating sex differences during language processing. Various researchers have carried out studies to support the idea, and the results are similar to the above results. Most researchers agree that girls have superior language abilities than boys. Researchers from Northwest Carolina, and University of Haifa found that the areas of the brain connected with language processing work faster in girls than in boys. This is mostly during language activities. The findings carried out by the researchers showed that boys and girls depend on different parts of the brain when performing language activities. Language processing is more sensory in males than in females. In girls, language processing is abstract.

The researchers used a group of students to perform the study. The group consisted of 21 boys and 21 girls aged below 15 years. The students were given spelling and writing activities to carry out. The activities were delivered to students in two modalities. That is visual modality, and audio modality. The students were able to read some words in visually modality, but not hear them (Lust, 2006). In addition, the students were able to hear some words aloud using auditory modality, but they did not see the words. Then the researchers accounted for the difference in age and gender. The results of the study showed that girls showed greater activation in language areas of the brains than boys (Lust, 2006). The researchers argued that girls absorbed the information to the language areas for the brains. This are the areas linked with abstract thinking.

In boys, the performance relied on reading the words presented. The degree of accuracy in boys depends on how the visual area of the brain worked. Other researchers believe that there are gender differences in language processing. The researchers carried out a fMRI study and got the following results (Lust, 2006). According to the study, girls had greater brain activity than boys in the three language areas of the brain. For example, girls had more activity in the inferior frontal gruys than boys. This area helped students identify the meaning of words presented, and carry out other language functions. The girls showed a greater activity in the superior temporal gyrus. This was on the both sides of the brain. This area helped the student identify sounds of different words. The last area that girls showed greater activity is the fusiform gruys found on the left side of the brain. This area helped students identify the spelling of words, and identify words using visual modality (Halpern, 2000).

 In the study, boys used the left side of the brain to carry out language related activities while the girls used the left and right side of the brain to carry out language activities. In girls, the auditory area helped girls have greater brain activity (Halpern, 2000). This helped students retrieve, and process information faster than boys. In boys, the visual area of the brain assisted them access, and process information that is related to the language activity. The researchers found that the brain plays an important role in retrieving, and processing of information. In addition, the activity of the brain functions different in boys and girls (Halpern, 2000).The prevalent issues discussed in the topic are gender and role issues. The topic analyzes how boys and girls differ in language processing and language development. It also analyzes the roles played by girls and boys in language processing (Becker, 2008).

 The research above is important for both teachers, and parents. This is because the research helps teachers provide the best testing for the students. The teacher has to provide a testing method that caters for the boys’ short comings in language processing, and girls’ short comings. For example, during the testing process boys will perform well when tested using the same sensory modality (Becker, 2008). When reading comprehension, boys will perform well if the teacher uses both visual and audio modalities. Using the two modalities when teaching will help the teacher ensure both boys, and girls perform well. For example, in reading a comprehension in an English class, the teacher will allow the student to read through the comprehension loudly. This will allow the teacher to use the auditory modality to support boys’ shortcomings. Then after reading the compression loudly, the teacher will use visual modality where by he will allow students to use visual modality (Becker, 2008).


Becker, J.B. (2008).Sex differences in the brain: from genes to behavior. OxfordUniversity Press US.ISBN: 0195311582 9780195311587

Halpern, D.F. (2000).Sex differences in cognitive abilities. Routledge. ISBN: 0805827927 9780805827927

Lust, B. (2006).Child language: acquisition and growth. CambridgeUniversity Press. ISBN: 0521444780 978052144478

Sousa, D. A. (2005). How the brain learns to read. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin. ISBN: 9781412906012

Sousa, D.A. (2007).How the special needs brain learns. Corwin Press. ISBN: 1412949866 9781412949866


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