Men have larger brains, but women perform better on memory tests, a new study has suggested.
Researchers at Erasmus University, Rotterdam, measured the brains of 875 volunteers using MRI scans and found that men’s brains were around 14 per cent larger.
Men scored higher on tests of general intelligence by 3.75 on average, although women performed better on memory tests.
“We found that men’s brains are larger than women’s and our analysis suggests this is the reason for lower average general intelligence across a range of tests,” said lead author of the Erasmus study, Dimitri van der Linden.
“We are aware of previous research suggesting women’s brains are better organised or process information more efficiently, but we did not look at this in our study.”
The study, which was published in the psychology journal Intelligence, has drawn some criticism due to the measurements the authors used, while other experts contend that women’s brains work more efficiently than men’s.
Dr Joseph Devlin of University College London, said: ‘This is a well-researched study but the evidence is not strong enough to prove that larger male brains are more intelligent than smaller female brains, which makes it a leap of faith, using a measure of general intelligence which has little basis.
“Men and women’s brains are different and we know spatial navigation is slightly better in men than women, while women tend to have a better vocabulary.
“But we should be sceptical of claims that men are smarter than women, especially when there is little to no evidence for that and lots of evidence to the contrary.”