Girls have better language ability: study

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Washington, Mar 4 (UNI) Girls may prove to be better teachers when it comes to teaching language, as a new study has established that areas of the brain associated with language work harder in girls than in boys.

A new study conducted by researchers from Northwestern University and the University of Haifa suggested that language processing is more sensory in boys and more abstract in girls and that boys and girls rely on different parts of the brain when performing language tasks.

The researchers studied the brain activity of 31 boys and 31 girls while they were performing spelling and writing language tasks, using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI).

The participants were made to do the tasks in both visual and auditory modalities. When visually presented, they read certain words without hearing them, while in auditory mode, they heard the words aloud without seeing them.

It was found that the language areas of the brain were more activated in girls and their level of performance corelated with the degree of activation in areas associated with abstract thinking through language.

However, in case of boys, the accuracy of performance, when reading, depended on the working of the visual areas of the brain, while during hearing, it depended on the activation of the auditory areas.

Given boys' sensory approach, they might be more effectively evaluated on knowledge gained from lectures via oral tests and on knowledge gained by reading via written tests, noted the study slated to be published in the March issue of the journal Neuropsychologia.

However, these different testing methods would appear unnecessary for girls, whose language processing appears more abstract in approach, it said.

''Boys have some kind of bottleneck in their sensory processes that can hold up visual or auditory information and keep it from being fed into the language areas of the brain. This could result simply from girls developing faster than boys, in which case the differences between the sexes might disappear by adulthood,'' lead author of the study Douglas D Burman noted.


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