Sensing Danger

A groundbreaking study at Krakow‘s Jagiellonian University Hospital was presented in early December with fascinating results. The study focused on the differences in how men and women perceive and respond to danger.

Using functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI), researchers studied how different regions of female and male brains lit up in response to both positive and negative stimuli. The study presented 21 men and 19 women aged 18 to 36 with a series of images. The first set of images was meant to create a negative response, while the second would induce positive feelings. In women, the part of the brain associated with the pain and pleasure centres was more active, while in men the decision-making part of their brains was more active during the tests.

Andrzej Urbanik, JUH Chair of Radiology, explained the results of the study at the 2009 annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA): “In men, the negative images on the slides were more potent in driving their automatic system. This might signal that when confronted with dangerous situations, men are more likely than women to take action.”

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