How Boys and Girls Learn

The Brain Is the Thing

The major difference between the behavior and actions of boys and girls lies in the brain. The brain is the center of activity for the growth, development, and information processing of the human body. What makes the brains of boys and girls so much different? Let’s take a look inside.

As I lead conferences about this subject, I think I have an advantage when I talk about issues related to boys since I am one. It’s always a lot of fun when there are other men in the room. For instance, one of my favorite facts about development is that when an egg is first fertilized, all embryos begin as female. Not until the introduction of massive quantities of the hormone testosterone does a fertilized embryo begin to develop as a male. Without this rush of testosterone, the embryo will develop as a female. Most women are not surprised by this fact. The men in the group, however, are typically struck without words.

The hormones that influence the development of the embryo also guide the growth and development of the brain. There are three major hormones that affect the development and processing ability of the brain. They are estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone. Each chemical has its own special effect on the brain.

Why All These Chemicals?

Scripture tells us in Psalm 139:13, “For it was You who created my inward parts, You knit me together in my mother’s womb.” From the beginning of time, God has been creating life through the same process. Chemicals are a necessary part of the growth going on inside a mother’s womb. Estrogen and progesterone are responsible for mood, stability, thought processes, perception, memory, personal motivation, intimacy, appetite, and the handling of stress. Although testosterone is present at some level in both boys and girls, it is the dominant chemical responsible for the development of the male brain. The presence of large amounts of this chemical is responsible for the aggressive nature inherent in many boys.

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Toni Ridgaway is a content editor for the Outreach Web Network, including and