The Science of Gut Feelings

Have any of you read “The Female Brain” by Louann Brezendine, M.D.? My mom bought it for me, and talk about an interesting read. She talked about the biology of gut feelings, what women are known for, and how scientifically it’s true. “Gut feelings are not just a free-floating emotional states but actual physical sensations that convey meaning to certain areas in the brain.” She attributes them to increased availability of cells, that brain areas tracking these kinds of emotions are larger in women, and that her perceptions are translated into sensations that the body logs and uses to decipher other situations in the future.
For example, one woman was sure her husband was cheating on her. Her information? That his tone didn’t match his words in some particular way and his eyes darted a little. She was right. He had been spending an excessive amount of time with a co-worker and was becoming emotionally involved, although not more than that yet. This woman understood it all from the difference in nuances that her brain had been trained to know from years of living together and “reading” his responses.
She says this female ability actually extends to avoid hurting others as our neurons fire and allow us “observe and imitate the hand gestures, body postures, breathing rates, and expressions” of others as a way to intuit how they feel. Wow.
So when we say, “I feel your pain,” it might just be quite literally. And, no wonder conversations can sometimes be exhausting—we’re working here!
Next conversation you have with someone, observe how you observe them, and how your body responds. Those emotional snapshots apparently help make a map of what to do and what things mean when people act or speak in a certain way. And we are apparently excellent map readers.
Although some things I disagreed with (especially her reference to the Women’s Health Initiative study that increased cancer by a “small percentage”, when it included from 26 to 2100 percent and was actually STOPPED early because of the damage it did to women…), I found much of the information fascinating. A scientific “back up” as it were of why we are so intuitive, or suddenly click into motherhood mode, or why we suddenly emotionally withdraw from a situation.
Brain food for thought.
All my best,
Connie

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