In 1982, an article published in Science suggested that the corpus callosum is wider in womens’ brains, allowing for better “cross-talk,” which is evidence for womens’ greater ability to multi-task and superior language abilities.
However, a later analysis that looked at 49 prior studies of the brain found that in fact there are in fact no differences in size between the male and female corpus callosum.
The problem is, the original study is what stuck. Years later, it’s still a commonly-held belief that women have this greater connection between the sides of the brain, and therefore “scientific proof” their communication style is different. Here’s some recent advice from Dr. Pat Allen, relationship guru:
Number one all women have a bigger corpus callosum (the thick band of nerve fibers that connects the right—feeling brain lobe to the left-thinking lobe) than men. I recommend the book, Sex On The Brain by Daniel Amen. Since women have a bigger corpus callosum, we can mush everything together. Most right-handed men have a smaller corpus callosums so they’re either thinking or they’re feeling but not at the same time so you have to get them in one lobe or the other. When you talk first, you’re in left lobe he’s in right lobe. And if you speak first you’re setting up a program where you’re now ‘the leader’ and if you want to be ‘the leader,’ you got a follower or you’ve got a man who’s masculine and who will be bored stupid with your ‘masculine thinking,’ and say “Yeah lady, bye.”
Those poor men, they can’t think and feel at the same time!
So what does this have to do with on-line dating? Dating sites are always competing to improve their algorithms. Neuroscience is one more tool available to them. Here’s a recent study that used MRI to look at speed daters’ brains prior to the speed date to predict who’d they match up with:
When the researchers looked back at the brain scans of volunteers who viewed photographs of people they would later meet, the team found that the behavior of two parts of the brain’s dorsomedial prefrontal cortex — a region near the front of the brain that sits above the eyes — could predict whether viewers would later pursue the people in real life.
There could be a way, in the future, to take advantage of this type of brain information. But we must be cautious. Building a dating app based on false science could simply add another wrong path on the already tricky road to matchmaking.