Article Tab: Neuroscientist Larry Cahill poses for a portrait with a model brain Friday afternoon in his laboratory at UC Irvine.

Reference for upcoming speech at UCI to graduate students exploring the nature/differences of RenMen and RenWomen   -Scott


Women should get angry when they read this story, and men should as well, says Larry Cahill, a neuroscientist at UC Irvine who studies what he considers to be the profound differences between the brains of men and women.

But Cahill, who delivers a talk on his research at UCI on Wednesday, hopes the anger won’t come in its usual form: over misguided arguments about whether men or women are more intelligent.

Neuroscientist Larry Cahill poses for a portrait with a model brain Friday afternoon in his laboratory at UC Irvine.

No evidence exists for gender-based, biological impediments to academic achievement, he says – although he thinks there might be biological contributions to success in some fields.

Instead, Cahill hopes to provoke a reassessment among his colleagues, and anger among the general public, about medical science’s failure to take gender-based brain differences seriously.

The differences exist at virtually all levels, he says, from those of tiny cells to large structures in the brain, from brain chemistry to what he calls intriguing differences in the way men and women remember emotionally searing events.

And a failure to see the differences can have medical consequences. Men and women react to pain medications differently. They show differences in symptoms of schizophrenia. Chronic stress can damage men’s brains but, on average, has far less severe effects on women.

Hormonal differences can affect memory; one of Cahill’s students made waves in 2011 when she discovered that taking the pill can cause women’s memories of emotional material to more closely resemble those of men.

Virtually any brain disease, Cahill says, comes along with male-female differences big enough to call for major differences in medical treatment.

Cahill’s talk begins at 7 a.m. Wednesday at the University Club; register to attend and pay the $35 fee at

Q. What are some of the big differences emerging between male and female brains?

A. It’s not the case that I can sit here and point to anything that is a single, dramatic thing – black and white – that is only in this sex and not the other. As a rule that is not the case. What it is, is just a storm of sex differences, big and little, found all over the place – down to the level of single neurons. We see these differences everywhere, and we started to realize, damn, we simply assume they aren’t there. And these sex differences have implications for how the brain works and how to fix brains. That’s your big st