There is also some evidence which suggests that the right hemisphere of the female brain has a greater capacity to express and perceive "emotional" vocalizations or language abilities, and that females are superior with regard to their sensitivity to understand, perceive "and express empathy and social emotional nuances" (Joseph, 2000). Even in childhood women are more likely to express themselves emotionally than males, who traditionally have difficulty expressing themselves except via traditional means such as through anger, joy or "sexual arousal" (Joseph, 2000).
What does all of this mean? It certainly affirms the statement I made initially that females are better communicators than men. The evidence that is available to explain this difference suggests that females generally exhibit more language ability because of biological factors and because of societal pressures which dictate that women are better with regard to communication abilities and verbal abilities, and men are better when it comes to spatial orientation or mathematical abilities.
It is important to not discount but to strongly consider the powerful influence cultural 'norms' or perceived 'norms' may have on ones ability. The research examined suggests that both men and women have the capacity to boost their language ability and verbal communication abilities through their 60s (Joseph, 2000) so it might actually be possible for males to 'catch up' with females with regard to language ability. However despite a biological ability to improve one's language ability, it seems that culturally it is more acceptable for males to remain less communicative and to possess less adept verbal communication skills than females do.
Why is all of this worth examining? The issue of sex differences is a controversial one, and for years researchers, theorists and even every day citizens (like us) have been trying to figure out what makes men and women 'tick' and how better communication can be facilitated between the two genders.
Certainly from a relationship perspective the more adept both men and women are with regard to their verbal and language abilities, the more likely a relationship is to flourish and grow over time, and the more likely a couple is to report that they are happy and satisfied. This is certainly the case whether the relationship might be intimately-based or between friends, family members and peers. Much of the conflict that arises in society seems to stem from an inability of two parties to communicate effectively. Thus any examination of language ability that helps reveal how one communicates, whether a male or female, might help us better understand how to facilitate more clear and concise communication between the sexes.
A found the information contained in the literature surprising, as I expected that men and women would definitely exhibit different capacities with regard to language skills, but I expected that these differences could largely be explained by perceived cultural norms and stereotypes. I did not expect to find that there were actual biological differences that might impact a females vs. male's ability to understand and utilize language to the best of their ability.
Of course one may twist this argument to claim that females are the superior species based on their linguistic ability, however it is also important to remember that men are programmed to excel in areas that females are not as well.
The most important aspect of this new knowledge is a better understanding of the differences that exist in language abilities between men and women. Simply being aware of these differences can help men and women learn to find ways to communicate with one another more clearly, and can help perhaps influence males to improve their verbal and language abilities, while also encourage women to be more understanding of the natural abilities and differences that exist between men and women when it comes to language and communication. Far fewer misunderstandings are likely to occur when both parties are open minded and understand the differences that naturally exist between the two sexes.
Halpern, D.F. (2000). "Sex differences in cognitive abilities." Mahwah: Lawrence
Joseph, R. (2000). "The evolution of sex differences in language, sexuality and visual spatial skills." Archives of Sexual Behavior, 29(1): 35
Kaufman, a.S., Kaufman -Packer J.L., McLean J.E., & Reynolds C.R. (1991). "Is the pattern of intellectual growth and…