I think we have all long known what John Gray put down in words in his bestseller, Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus: There are differences between the sexes, not just physically, but psychologically. And a new study being published in the May issue of Personality Individual Differences reinforces that belief.
Researchers at Brigham Young University set out to gauge hidden feelings about body image. They conducted psychological screenings of both men and women using brain imaging technology. MRI scans were employed to monitor the brain activity of the participants while they were shown computer-generated images of different body types. While viewing each image, the participants were asked to imagine that someone else was saying the model looked like them.
Not surprisingly, the images of overweight women triggered the self-reflection and identity processing area in the brain in only the female participants. The medial prefrontal cortex lit up in not just a few, but all of the women. Mark Allen, a neuroscientist at BYU said, "This is kind of validating the suspicion that most women are teetering on the edge of an eating disorder. If the brain response is so strong in these apparently healthy women, maybe most of us could use a little dose of what it is that you go through in an eating disorder therapy."
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