Ever wondered why boys don’t cry as much as girls? According to researchers, this has to do with their unique brain structures.
A team of scientists from the University of Basel and University of Basel Psychiatric Hospital in Switzerland focused on the brain development of 189 adolescents. Not crying or appearing entirely unemotional falls within a category called callous-unemotional traits. These traits also include a lack of empathy, a lack of remorse of guilt, and an overall disregard for other’s feelings.
The results revealed that boys have a larger volume of the anterior insula or gray matter volume, a brain region responsible for recognizing emotions in others and empathy. Researchers believe that the size of this brain component is responsible for higher levels of callous-unemotional traits.
“Our findings demonstrate that callous-unemotional traits are related to differences in brain structure in typically-developing boys without a clinical diagnosis,” said Nora Maria Raschle from the University of Basel in Switzerland and lead author of the study.
Raschle and her team of researchers used magnetic resonance imaging to better monitor the brain development of the participants and find out whether callous-unemotional traits are associated with different brain structures. They concluded that boys and girls have different brain structures, particularly when dealing with emotions.
Once they compared the MRI images of both sexes who showed unemotional behavior, researchers discovered that only boys displayed significant differences in the bilateral anterior peninsula.
19 percent of the callous-unemotional traits displayed in boys was due to a larger bilateral anterior peninsula, according to the scientists.
The team, however, wants to further examine the link between callous-unemotional traits and brain structure in order to understand the different thought processes of developing teens. They are curious to see if the findings will translate to older test subjects or if they are limited to one age group. The study was published in the journal, Neuroimage.
Image Source: Pixabay
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