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This is my fourth post on the physiological roots of differences in masculine and feminine approaches to work (exemplified by our prototypes Max and Fran). While differences in brain structure and hormones are probably the most important, eye sight, tear production and smiling are major differences as well.

 Eyesight: Some experts say there are differences in the structures on the retinas in Max’s and Fran’s eyes. They say that Fran has more rods than Max has (giving her greater peripheral vision) and that Max has more cones (giving him more focused vision, spatial acuity and the ability to see fine detail).

Tears: There is evidence of differences in Max’s and Fran’s crying mechanisms. Children of both genders cry to express themselves since they have undeveloped verbal ability. By the time they reach adulthood, however, Fran is more likely to cry and experience more intense crying than Max. (One study found that men, on average, cry about once a month while women cry at least five times a month. Another found that a crying bout for women tends to last significantly longer.) Clearly our culture plays a big role in this difference, but nature may also play a role. Fran produces more prolactin, which shows up in tears from emotional crying.

 Smiling: Fran has larger “smile muscles” and tends to use them more than Max does.

 We’ll be exploring how these differences might show up in various ways at work. Where do you see differences? Do you think women tend to cry more? Smile more?