Dude, step back… you have diminished activation in your fusiform gyrus

September 28, 2010

After some flare-ups on campus this past weekend, I found this study interesting: Mara Mather and her collegaues asked are there gender differences in the ways that males and females respond to aggression? The ScienceDaily article provides an interesting summary of the study out of USC – men and women were shown faces, both when unstressed and when under acute stress. Women show increased processing of the facial information available when they become stressed –  the “face area” (fusiform gyrus) and connected areas involved in emotional processing were more active when stress was increased. Men showed an opposite response – they showed less activation of those areas associated with facial and emotional processing.

What does this mean? Well, I guess when someone, especially a male, gets upset, it is best to not rely on their ability to process relevant emotional information available when deciding what the proper next step is. According to this type of result, it would not be safe to assume that they can accurately gauge the emotional state of others – so it is less likely they could recognize that someone else is stepping back or not provoking further aggression. Sure enough, a little article  found on-line written by a bouncer with many years of experience suggests stepping between possible aggressors and stating explicitly “take it easy” or “it’s not worth it” – in a sense providing just the kind of information that is being shut out of the decision making loop at that point in time…


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: