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Features of somatic characteristics of men and women
Men and women differ in a number of morphological characteristics, including body size . The height of a person varies between 150-200 cm and depends on a number of factors, among which the main ones are sex and race. Men tend to have more growth than women. For the population of Russia, the average growth is about 175 cm for men and 165 cm for women.
Expressed gender differences exist in the constitution of the body. For example, the bones of men are characterized by large sizes, larger articular surfaces, more pronounced places of attachment of muscles. Muscles in men make up 42% of the total body weight, in women 36%, in adipose tissue in men -12%, and in women 18%. Men and women have significant differences in the proportions of the body - in men, compared with women, clearly greater width of the shoulders and a smaller width of the pelvis. Obviously, these indicators reflect only a general trend, they have a large individual variation, depend on the lifestyle of a person. For example, physical training causes a decrease in fat tissue and an increase in the mass of muscle tissue.
The dimensions of the individual parts of the body are proportional to the height. This general pattern can explain the sex differences in the size of the brain.
The brain mass of an adult varies between 1100 and 2000 g. Male and female brain differ in weight: on average, men have a brain weight of 1394 g, and in women 1245 g . Such differences are due to different overall body sizes and, correspondingly, the size of the skull, the brain mass correlates with the size of the body and the shape of the skull. With age, the mass of the brain of women decreases somewhat less than in men. The low weight of women's brains is not associated with fewer neurons. According to some data, in women in the cerebral cortex the density of neurons is greater than in men .
It is established that the general dimensions of the brain do not determine the level of intelligence and mental capabilities of the individual. The morphological basis for individual differences in the psychic sphere and behavior can be the relative sizes of individual brain structures involved in the regulation of certain functions. In the literature of the last 10-15 years, data on sex differences in the structural organization of individual subcortical and cortical areas of the brain are presented. Studies of subcortical formations are devoted mainly to the nuclei of the hypothalamus, which regulates sexual development and metabolism in the body. The works of the school of the Swedish scientist D. Svaab  showed that in an adult there is sexual dimorphism of the separate nuclei of the anterior hypothalamus, for example, the suprachiasmoid nucleus is different in size for men and women (in men it is twice as large) and in shape.
Differences in the sizes of the nervous ways connecting the right and left structures of a brain (so-called komissuralnye ways) are revealed. Sex differences in anterior commissure, connecting the right and left thalamuses, are found: the surface of this commissure in women is twice that of men. Significant differences are found in the size of the corpus callosum, a structure that connects the right and left hemispheres of the brain. Men have more anterior part of the corpus callosum, and in women - a posterior section. The ratio of the volume of the corpus callosum to the volume of the brain is greater in women than in men .
Sexual differences are found in some cortical areas of the brain. The works of the Canadian scientist S. Vitelson et al.  describe differences in the temporal lobe, which are expressed in the types of branches of the sylvian furrow and in the organization of the auditory associative cortex. The width of the auditory cortex in women and men is the same, however, the number of neurons per unit of brain substance in women is 11% greater than that of men. Differences in the activity of neurons in some regions of the cortex and subcortical nuclei were found. In women, activity is higher in the cortical region, which regulates emotional processes (field 47), and in men it prevails in motor structures (field 8 and caudate nucleus). The overwhelming majority of authors emphasize that the asymmetry of brain structures is more pronounced in men than in women.
Thus, in the modern literature there is evidence that supports the idea of the presence of sexual dimorphism in the structure of the human brain. The frequency of messages makes it necessary to recognize the reality of the existence of such differences at least as a valid working hypothesis. At the same time, it is necessary to pay attention to the following points. First, most of the information on sex differences in the structure of the brain is obtained from the study of a small number of men and women. Secondly, many data are not confirmed by repeated studies using other experimental methods. Thus, for example, data on the difference in brain structures in men and women often obtained in postmortem studies using the anatomical method and in life using the nuclear magnetic resonance method do not often coincide.
It should also be noted that studies on sexual dimorphism of the brain often do not take into account individual characteristics, in particular such as the leading hand and the predominant activity. In general, the question of the influence of individual experience on the development of brain structures has not been studied, although there is evidence of its significant effect on the structure of individual brain regions. For example, the size of the corpus callosum is connected with the leading arm: for left-handers and ambidextors, the corpus callosum is more massive than that of the right-handed ones. The influence of the leading activity is demonstrated by the data obtained during the lifetime study of the brain of musicians . It turned out that for right-handed pianist musicians, the area of the precentral gyrus, which is the representation of the hand, is more pronounced left and right than non-musicians. Such results confirm the possibility of restructuring the brain structures in response to specific stimulation.
When interpreting data on sexual dimorphism of the human brain, it is important to take into account that it is impossible to make judgments about the features of the organization of the higher mental processes of an individual only on the basis of morphological information about the structure of different regions of the brain. Accordingly, and based on the available information on sexual dimorphism of the brain, it is impossible to draw conclusions about the biological conditioning of cognitive or behavioral reactions of men and women.
The data also show that sexual differentiation of the brain does not exclude its bipotentiality. Unlike reproductive organs, whose differentiation is alternative, the brain can contain the ability to program behavior in both male and female types. The realization of these opportunities depends on the conditions of individual development. For example, in the absence of experience of interaction with representatives of its species, young monkeys and some other animals can not master the necessary skills of sexual behavior. In a person, the autonomy of sexual behavior from reproductive increases the variety of forms of response, and the influence of social factors is more significant here than in animals.
Many manifestations of sexual dimorphism are associated with the hormonal sphere, with the synthesis of male (androgens) and female (estrogen) hormones . Sex hormones have a significant effect on the development of the human body at all stages of its development . At the embryonic stage, these hormones contribute to the differentiation of tissues and the formation of genital organs. During puberty, the increased activity of gonads in boys and girls regulates the development of genital organs and the formation of secondary sexual characteristics. In adults, sex hormones regulate various processes, but primarily those that are associated with the implementation of sexual function. Violation of the secretion of sex hormones is accompanied by deviations not only in the organs of the sexual sphere, but throughout the entire body.
Among the androgens, the main hormone is testosterone. Under the influence of testosterone, not only the sexual function is regulated, but also the metabolism is increased, in particular, the synthesis of proteins in the nervous and muscular tissues is enhanced. This explains the greater development of musculature in men and, accordingly, greater muscular strength. Female sex hormones (the most important are progesterone, estradiol, estrone) cause changes in the body characteristic of the menstrual cycle, create conditions for the implantation of a fertilized egg, ensure normal fetal development, and regulate the metabolism of a number of substances, for example calcium metabolism.
Sex hormones play an important role in the organization of behavior, primarily they are necessary for reproductive behavior. Male sex hormones, especially testosterone, affect sexual behavior. It is established that the level of testosterone varies, for the same man at different times of the day and on different days it can vary several times. However, with high and low levels of this hormone, sexual activity is approximately the same, if the fluctuations in its concentration do not exceed the limits of the physiological norm . These data show that reproductive behavior is determined not so much by hormonal, as by social factors, whose role in humans is great .
Sex hormones can affect emotional behavior. Changes in the concentration of estrogens in women are accompanied by changes in the affective state . This condition is called premenstrual syndrome, since the symptoms appear either a few days before menstruation, or in the first two days of a new cycle. During this period, many women (from 30 to 70% of women) complain of increased anxiety, irritability, internal tension, feelings of unreasonable anxiety, depression. The main factor causing this change in the emotional state is a sharp drop in the content of progesterone. In parallel with the change in the concentration of hormones, some cognitive abilities may change. For example, spatial tasks are better performed by women with a low level of estrogen, and verbal tasks - at a high level. However, as a whole, there were no significant changes in cognitive functions in women at different periods of the cycle.
Testosterone is associated with aggressive reactions of males of different species, since it is established that for the manifestation of aggression a certain level of aggression is required. The level of aggressive reactions in men is also often associated with androgens. In the early twentieth century. believed that testosterone is a hormone of aggression, and in the United States castrated criminals who were accused of sexual violence . However, it soon turned out that a decrease in testosterone levels does not make the criminal less aggressive. It has now been shown that in the male population, the oscillations of this and other androgens are large and the level of their concentration does not correspond to the frequency of aggressive behavioral acts. The leading role in the frequency of manifestation of aggressive behavior is played not by hormonal, but by socio-psychological factors, and especially by individual experience of aggressive actions . At the same time, specialists in the field of behavioral endocrinology note that a sharp change in the level of sex hormones in the blood can contribute to the formation of aggressive behavior. This effect is observed with accelerated course of puberty: high rates of testosterone secretion in adolescents can be the cause of aggressive antisocial behavior. In an adult, many hormones can affect the manifestation of aggression, but none of them is decisive for the manifestation of aggression as a personality trait.
Thus, sex hormones affect human behavior. At the same time, any human behavior, even associated with reproductive function, is provided by the endocrine system in close interaction with the nervous system, and neural connections are able to be reconstructed under the influence of the environment, including social ones. In other words, human behavior, its individual characteristics are determined by genetic, hormonal and social factors through education and training.
Summarizing the above facts, we note that for a number of somatic signs, there are pronounced differences between men and women. However, these signs do not strictly deter- mine behavioral responses, and social factors play an important role in their influence on behavior.
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Features of somatic characteristics of men and women
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