An important thing that has come out of the holistic approach to healthcare is the affirmation that we are embodied souls. I believe that matter was created inherently good; “And God saw everything that he had made, and it was very good” Genesis 1:31 HCSB (Holman Christian Standard Bible). Not only this, but the Incarnation, Jesus Christ fully human and fully God, negates the Gnostic idea that matter is evil. I only mention this to say that both males and females are created in God’s image, and our bodies are very much a part of who we are.
With that in mind I want to touch on how a girl’s soul is influenced by the of the wiring of her brain and genotype hormones. In his book the Wonder of Girls: Understanding the Hidden Nature of our Daughters (2002), psychologist Michael Gurian speaks of how science has illuminated biological realities that differentiate girls from boys through MRIs and biochemical research. Instead of moving towards androgyny, conflict or numbness, Gurian proposes womanism, a philosophy of embracing females biologically, psychologically, socially, and spiritually.
Let’s look at two things that make girls girls – brain wiring and hormones:
Myelination of brain is complete around age twenty, faster speed of neurotransmission than males.
Corpus callosum bigger than males – verbalize emotions more easily.
Frontal lobes more active than males – thinks things through; uses more words.
More data in parietal lobes – feel pain more fully; and want to be held longer than males.
Stronger temporal lobe connections – greater memory storage; better listening and hear tone or inflections of voice; better sensual memories.
Thalamus processes data more quickly than males – emotional data and sense of safety.
Cerebral cortex has more mass, variety and speed of transmission – more going on and faster neurotransmission in females.
Prefrontal cortex finishes development sooner than males – earlier moral development, empathy and understanding consequences.
Estrogen and Progesterone
Cause mental, psychological, physical and emotional transformation to womanhood.
Control the monthly cycle of women through and sometimes past menopause.
Fire four neurotransmitters in the brain – norepinephrine, serotonin, dopamine and acetylcholine – operate mood stability, thought process, perception, memory, personal motivations, intimacy motivations, sex drive, appetite, anxiety, and stress.
Estrogen fires a neurotransmitter that accelerates communication in the brain.
Progesterone is the “bonding” hormone.
Females have up to 20 times less testosterone than males – more depression, less aggression, and less libido.
More recent studies show similar findings; female and male brain wiring differs because of hormones, and chromosomes (female XX genotype vs. male XY) according to a Stanford Medicine online article written by science columnist Bruce Goldman. He goes on to say that when findings are coming out of animal-research, the cultural influence on gender roles become a moot point. Goldman refers to the January/February 2017 issue of the Journal of Neuroscience Research edited by UC-Irvine professor of neurobiology and behavior Larry Cahill, PhD. Cahill where for the first time ever an entire journal was devoted to sex differences and neuro-cognitive function. Apparently other than left-handedness, this is one of the broadest areas for study of brain structure differences. There are a couple of links to summaries of two articles from that journal listed below. Maybe this blog just confirms what you already knew. Hopefully you have gained some insights into your daughter or maybe yourself today. Next week we will cover male characteristics of brain structure and hormones.
Gurian, M. (2002) the Wonder of Girls: Understanding the Hidden Nature of our Daughters, New York, NY: Pocket Books.
Goldman, Bruce (2017) Two minds, the cognitive differences between men and women. Spring 2017. Retrieved from:
McEwen, Bruce S. & Milner, Teresa A. (2017). Understanding the Broad Influence of Sex Hormones and Sex Differences in the Brain. Journal of Neuroscience Research, Jan/Feb 2017. Retrieved from:
Hausmann, Markua (2017). Why sex hormones matter for neuroscience: A very short review on sex, sex hormones, and functional brain asymmetries. Journal of Neuroscience Research, Jan/Feb 2017. Retrieved from: