Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus. And that’s a good thing!

This week we learned how diversity can create both a positive and negative environment. We learned about prejudice and discrimination, conflict and conflict resolution. What I wanted to discuss in this week’s blog in particular is functional diversity. According to the text, functional diversity refers to the idea that “each person in a group brings different strengths and talents to the group process” (Schneider, Gruman, Coutts, p. 336 2012). Some examples of this might be individuals from lower/higher socioeconomic backgrounds, individualistic versus collectivist societies, or even just men and women. 

I found the experiment conducted by Schruijer and Mostert in 1997 very interesting because the results showed that “more creative solutions to problems emerged when groups were composed of both men and women…” (Schneider, Gruman, Coutts, p. 336 2012). I decided to research this idea on my own to see if I could find any reasons for this, other than men are from Mars and women are from Venus.  

I ended up finding an article written by Dr. Gregory L. Jantz (2014) describing four generalized brain differences in brain functioning. While I didn’t necessarily find merit in three of them for this particular blog, I did find the first difference interesting. According to the article, men use 7 times more gray brain matter for processing, and women use 10 times more white brain matter (Jantz, 2014, para. 2). Gray matter is more localized in the brain while white matter is more like a networking grid (Jantz, 2014, para. 3-4). What scientists believe is that the use of localized gray matter leads to a type of tunnel vision, and this is why men can get very focused and caught up in tasks ((Jantz, 2014, para. 3). The use of white matter, on the other hand, allows women to move from subject to subject and task to task more easily (Jantz, 2014, para. 3). 

These findings, and I’m sure many others, help to show why functional diversity could lead to greater creativity, and thus support diversity. If all groups were made up of only men or only women, some tasks may never get completed because we might move from one to another too quickly or because we NEVER changed tasks. While there are certainly less differences between men and women than people think, diversity is important in the respect that people of different genders, age groups, and cultures are going to be raised and taught differently and each of those people have the opportunity to bring a unique twist to groups. 


Jantz, G. L., Ph.D. (2014, February 27). Brain Differences Between Genders. Retrieved September 26, 2018, from 

Schneider, F. W., Gruman J. A., Coutts, L. M. (2012). Applied social psychology: Understanding and addressing social and practical problems. Los Angeles: SAGE. 


  1. Robyn Louise Olsen

    I find this to be very interesting! I think in today’s world we are starting to see the necessity of this concept, especially in politics when it comes to valuing women’s perspective. There are significantly more women running for all levels of office as of today and I think that our country (and other countries as well) are starting to realize how important this is based on the status quo. Like you said, it does no one any good when you have too much influence from male or female, and right now it seems like we are heavily weighted on the male side. I think the next couple of years leading up to the 2020 election will be very revealing and progressive to show both men and women coming together for change.

  2. I found your blog post to be interesting. Your title, in particular caught my eye. I often find myself wondering what men are thinking. Female friends of mine share jokes about “mansplaining” and being unable to find things in our house, however, what is the science behind our differences. As you mentioned in your blog post, functional diversity happens when diverse groups work together, bringing their strengths and weaknesses to the group.
    According to a recent study, functional connectivity (FC) differences in resting brain as shown on a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) are obvious (Zhang, Doughtery, Baum, White, & Michael, 2018). Researchers have found that they are able to predict gender by looking at an fMRI of an individual in default mode (DMN). Areas of the brain that contributed most to gender prediction were the right fusiform gyrus and right ventromedial prefrontal cortex. These regions have previously been shown to be important for social functioning, possibly explaining gender differences in social cognition (Zhang et al., 2018).
    A recent literature review on research data for gender and creativity gives reasons for differences in creativity between genders (Abraham, 2016). The review concludes that most gender differences in creativity can be attributed to differences in cognitive styles when given certain tasks. Another study showed that gender can influence brain iron levels, contributing to pathologic neurodegeneration in aging adults (Persson et al., 2015).
    I could write an entire literature review on the differences in brain function as it relates to gender, however, I know the focus of your blog was related to group relations. It’s important to acknowledge the strengths (or weaknesses) of other individuals in order to strengthen the group. This can be used across all group differences, not just gender.


    Abraham, A. (2016). Gender and creativity: An overview of psychological and neuroscientific literature. Brain Imaging and Behavior, 10(2), 609-618. doi:

    Persson, N., Wu, J., Zhang, Q., Liu, T., Shen, J., Bao, R., . . . Spincemaille, P. (2015). Age and sex related differences in subcortical brain iron concentrations among healthy adults. NeuroImage, 122, 385-398. doi:

    Zhang, C., Dougherty, C. C., Baum, S. A., White, T., & Michael, A. M. (2018). Functional connectivity predicts gender: Evidence for gender differences in resting brain connectivity. Human Brain Mapping, 39(4), 1765-1776. doi:

  3. I think diversity is very important too and you brought up a good point that because of all our differences, different people are able to focus in on different tasks. This will lead to perhaps all the tasks being completed, hopefully corrected, rather than wasting time on one task or forgetting another task entirely! Also I find it interesting that men and women use didn’t brain matter. I think it must have an evolutionary aspect as women often needed to provide a safe place for their offspring to eat and sleep, as well as taking care of their many needs as well as their own around their general area. Men however could roam around and hunt to provide food. And hunting can be dangerous, so it’s best if you didn’t get distracted with other tasks!

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