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Thinking Differently

by Phyllis Pollack
January 2014

PGP Mediation Blog by Phyllis G. Pollack

Phyllis  Pollack
In 1992, John Gray, Ph.D. published Men Are From Mars, Women are From Venus (HarperCollins Publishing 1992) to explain why men and women have difficulty communicating with each other.

It seems that recent neurological experiments provide validity to Dr. Gray's thesis. An article (Vive la différence!) in the Science section of the December 7, 2013 edition of The Economist discusses recent experiments by Ragini Verna of the University of Pennsylvania and her colleagues demonstrating that the female brain is definitely wired differently than the male brain. By using techniques that allowed her to scan the living brain, Ms. Ragini was able to determine why

"... [m]en... have better motor spatial abilities than women and more monomaniacal patterns of thought. Women have better memories, are more socially adept, and are better at dealing with several things at once." (Id.)

The reason, she found, is that the dominant wiring in a man's brain is contained mainly within the same hemisphere of the brain while the dominant wiring in a woman's brain connects one hemisphere to the other. As a result,

"... [t]he cross-talk between them [hemispheres] in women suggested by the wiring diagrams, helps explain their better memories, social adeptness and ability to multitask, all of which benefit from the hemispheres collaborating. In men, by contrast, the within-hemisphere links let them focus on things that do not need complex inputs from both hemispheres. Hence the monomania." (Id.)

Ms. Ragini also found that these differences are not congenital but rather develop with age; the older one is, the more pronounced the differences. (Id.)

Applying this to real life, when negotiating with a man, think about his wiring; His memory and communication (aka social ) skills may not be as developed as that of his female counterpart, his thinking may obsessively dwell on one idea or subject (aka monomania) and he may not be able to multitask. Thus, resolving a dispute with a male will require a different strategy than with a female.

So, are men from Mars and women from Venus? Science seems to indicate so.

Just something to think about!

Biography


Phyllis Pollack with PGP Mediation uses a facilitative, interest-based approach. Her preferred mediation style is facilitative in the belief that the best and most durable resolutions are those achieved by the parties themselves. The parties generally know the business issues and priorities, personalities and obstacles to a successful resolution as well as their own needs better than any mediator or arbitrator. She does not impose her views or make decisions for the parties. Rather, Phyllis assists the parties in creating options that meet the needs and desires of both sides.  When appropriate, visual aids are used in preparing discussions and illustrating possible solutions. On the other hand, she is not averse to being proactive and offering a generous dose of reality, particularly when the process may have stalled due to unrealistic expectations of attorney or client, a failure to focus on needs rather than demands, or when one or more parties need to be reminded of the potential consequences of their failure to reach an agreement.



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Website: www.pgpmediation.com/index.htm

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