What did you say?

Associated Press

CHICAGO — Score one for exasperated women: New research suggests men really do listen with just half their brains.

In a study of 10 men and 10 women, brain scans showed that men when listening mostly used the left sides of their brains, the region long associated with understanding language. Women in the study, however, used both sides.

Other studies have suggested that women "can handle listening to two conversations at once," said Dr. Joseph Lurito, an assistant radiology professor at Indiana University School of Medicine. "One of the reasons may be that they have more brain devoted to it."

Lurito’s findings, presented Tuesday at the Radiological Society of North America’s annual meeting, don’t necessarily mean women are better listeners.

It could be that "it’s harder for them," Lurito suggested, since they apparently need to use more of their brains than men to do the same task.

"I don’t want a battle of the sexes," he said. "I just want people to realize that men and women" may process language differently.

Though preliminary, the study could help doctors treating stroke victims better understand how men’s and women’s brains differ, said Dr. Edgar Kenton, a neurologist at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia.

It suggests that in a stroke affecting the brain’s left side, women might recover language ability more quickly than men, though that remains to be proven, Kenton said.

Copyright ©2000 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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