Gender differences in brain development

JoAnn Deak, PhD Psychologist and Author, explains how brain development in children and teenagers differs between girls and boys
Gender Differences In Brain Development
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Gender differences in brain development

One of the things I really enjoy talking about is gender differences and I am fairly well known for saying we are as different from the neck up as we are from the neck down. Part of what that means is that not only do our bodies change at different rates, so do our brains. If you go in a 7th grade class for instance and you are a betting person, the girls will be taller than the boys. Not all girls taller than all boys, but in general. And the same thing happens in the head. The girls in essence become taller. They are faster. For example, the prefrontal cortex, right behind the forehead, the part that deals with judgment, in adolescence it is about two years in delay for boys compared to girls. So a 12 year old girl´s prefrontal cortex, which is the seed of judgment, would be comparable to a 14 or 15 year old boy. So I am often asked by girls when will they grow up, and it is interesting. There are many days when there is good judgment but in general just like height there is a difference in maturity in the brain of boys and girls.

JoAnn Deak, PhD Psychologist and Author, explains how brain development in children and teenagers differs between girls and boys


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JoAnn Deak, PhD

Psychologist & Author

JoAnn Deak, PhD, has spent more than 30 years as an educator and psychologist, helping children develop into confident and competent adults. The latter half of that period has also focused on working with adults, parents and teachers in their roles as guides or ‘neurosculptors’ of children. On her website is a quote that best describes her perspective on her work: “every interaction a child has, during the course of a day, influences the adult that child will become.”

Parents and educators at schools from New York to Hawaii, as well as such organizations as the National Association of School Psychologists, the National Association of Independent Schools, the Association of International Schools, the American Montessori Society and the International Baccalaureate Association, have heralded Dr. Deak’s ability to demystify complex issues of child development, learning, identify formation and brain research.

Dr. Deak has been an advisor to Outward Bound, a past chair of the National Committee for Girls and Women in Independent Schools, on the advisory board for the Center on Research for Girls (Laurel School), for the Seattle Girls’ School, Bromley Brook School, the Red Oak School, Power Play and GOAL. She consults with organizations and schools across the United States. Most recently, she has worked internationally with schools, organizations, associations and parent groups in every continent (except Antarctica!) She has been awarded the Woman of Achievement Award by the National Coalition of Girls’ Schools, was given the first Female Educator of the Year Award by Orchard House School, and the Outstanding Partner for Girls Award from Clemson University. She has been named the Visiting Scholar in New Zealand, the Visiting Scholar for Montessori Children’s House and has been the Resident Scholar for the Gardner Carney Leadership Institute in Colorado Springs for the past five years.

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