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Women’s brains got a huge boost from better living conditions

29
Jul
2014

For psychologists, there’s no question that human cognition — the way we process information — has dramatically improved over the last century thanks to improvements in nutrition, health care, sanitation, and social equality. Those are the findings of a new study, published today in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, which stipulates that women’s cognitive abilities benefit far more from improvements in social conditions than mens do. As living conditions increase, so do men and women’s cognitive abilities — but women’s more than men’s, says Agneta Herlitz, co-author of the study and a psychologist at Stockholm University in Sweden. Other studies have been able to show increases in cognition over time, Herlitz says, but we show that this happens more for women than for men, and that gives rise to slightly different patterns in cognitive differences.

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