Men have bigger brains than women—who’s smarter? Science weighs in

According to a recent study at Erasmus University in Rotterdam, men are more intelligent than women as a result of their larger brain size.

On average, men’s brains are approximately 14 percent larger than women’s. The study used MRI scans to identify the brain size of 875 volunteers between the ages of 22 and 37 as part of the Human Connectome Project.

Of the volunteers, women scored 3.75 points less on tests of general intelligence than men. Lead author Dr. Dimitri van der Linden claims the reason behind the difference in scores is because of physical brain size.

Interestingly, this finding supports Charles Darwin’s controversial theory that men’s brains were larger in the 19th century.

“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,” Dr. Dimitri van der Linden stated.

Men had higher scores on most measures of intelligence including spatial awareness. Women did better in memory tests recalling a sequence of 18 pictures though it did not make a difference in their general intelligence score.

Even so, this study is debated in the scientific community.

Various studies claim that women’s brains are better organized or process information more efficiently. Research at the University of California found that women’s brains, though smaller, could perform better because of the connections between brain cells.

“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,” according to Dr. Joseph Devlin, head of experimental psychology at University College London.

Dr. Dimitri van der Linden said their study did not take these other factors such as efficiency into account during their research project.

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