Problem Solvers and Solution Seekers—The Difference Between Intra-compared with Inter-hemispheric Connectivity

  • Kate LanzEmail author
  • Paul Brown
Part of the The Neuroscience of Business book series (TNoB)


The typical male brain functions in either the right or the left hemisphere. It is suggested that this creates in men a preference for binary solutions (either/or) and that this is especially productive for problem-solving. Women’s brains, on the other hand, typically function by integrating both hemispheres (both/and); so that women understand the continuous process of creating outcomes and solutions that are not especially goal focused but continuous, iterative steps towards emerging solutions. The value of these two different modes of operating is explored. This chapter is central to an argument that runs throughout the book, which is that the feminist demand for equality needs to be replaced by a proper understanding of the value of the difference. The possible resolution of disparity between male and female pay rates will not, it is proposed, enable access to the best of both brains. Only a re-valuing of the differences will do this.


  1. Baron-Cohen, S. (2003). The essential difference: Men, women and the extreme male brain (p. 3). New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
  2. Baron-Cohen, S., Wheelright, S., & Hill, J. (2001). Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 42, 241–252.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Buck, R. W., Savin, V. J., Miller, R. E., & Caul, W. F. (1972). Communication of affect through facial expression in humans. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 23(3), 362–371.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Connellan, J., Baron-Cohen, S., Wheelright, S., et al. (2001). Sex differences in human neonatal social perception. Infant Behaviour and Development, 23, 113–118.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Eisenberg, N., & Lennon, R. (1983). Sex differences in empathy related capacities. Psychological Bulletin, 94, 100–131.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Hoffman, M. L. (1977). Sex differences in empathy and related behaviours. Psychological Bulletin, 84, 712–722.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Lutchmaya, S., & Baron-Cohen, S. (2002). Human sex differences in social and non-social looking preferences at 12 months of age. Infant Behaviour and Development, 24(4), 319–324.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. McGilchrist, I. (2009). The master and his emissary. New Haven: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
  9. McGuinness, D., & Symonds, J. (1977). Sex differences in choice behaviour: The object-person dimension. Perception, 6(6), 691–694.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Ingalhalikar, M., Smith, A., Parker, D., Satterthwaite, T. D., Elliott, M. A., Ruparel, K., et al. (2014, January 14). Sex differences in the structural connectome of the human brain. PNAS, 111(2), 823–828. Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.BedfordUK
  2. 2.VientianeLaos

Personalised recommendations