Physiological evidence of gender differences in word recognition: a magnetoencephalographic (MEG) study

Brain Res Cogn Brain Res. 2001 Aug;12(1):49-54. doi: 10.1016/s0926-6410(01)00028-3.


Magnetic field recordings were made in order to describe brain processes during a word recognition experiment. We investigated 26 healthy young subjects (14 females) and focused on gender differences related to recognition performance and brain activity. From about 200 ms to 350 ms after word onset the event-related field (ERF) patterns differed significantly between women and men, although the mean recognition performances did not. Differences were due to different strengths of activation as well as due to the involvement of different neural structures as underlined with statistical analysis. We interpret that our physiological findings demonstrate that different mental strategies are used for correct word recognition in the brains of women and men as assessed with magnetoencephalography (MEG). Our data might be linked to previous findings about the hemispheric asymmetry in male subjects (left lateralized) compared to women in whom both hemispheres seem to be equally involved in word processing.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Brain Mapping
  • Cognition / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Magnetoencephalography*
  • Male
  • Reading*
  • Sex Characteristics