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BTS - Colleen Star Koch

Fairy Godmothers, brain stuff, and the cognitive bullshit of men

This week was a lot of fun because I got to play with friends old and new, but there was a lot of stuff that wasn’t fun to admit. Emotions suck sometimes, and accepting them seems like defeat, but paradox strikes again because the only way to deal with shit is to first accept it. Cool story. Now, what’s inside:

  • More of Brett and Natasha’s Intrapersonal Challenge

  • How Intrapersonal Intelligence enhances relationships

  • Intrapersonal Intelligence —> entitlement?

  • The predictions of our subconscious

  • General intelligence (g) and Body Mass Index (BMI)

  • Understanding our limitations and redefining success

  • Female v male emotional experiences

Talking with Colleen this week was like a warm hug.

Olaf loves warm hugs! | Disney Movies | Pinterest | Warm, Just me and Love

Honestly, she’s just one of those people who makes me realize my head is screwed on ok, and I’m gonna do just fine as long as I get out of my own way. I think we all need someone like that, a cheerleader, but one who helps you analyze the field and call the plays. Originally, I was planning on inviting someone like Steven Hays on the podcast, but Colleen popped up in my life again, and I thought Fuck yes, she’s the one.

I met her at a very weird time in my life. I was ready to try some new shit, but SOOO not ready to quit my job. I knew I would eventually, too, and I wish I didn’t need a mental breakdown to release my grip from the life I didn’t want, but hey - a win is a win. She invited me on her podcast a long time ago and obviously planted a seed. Meeting her was like meeting an old friend. I felt like I had known her forever. She’s a wonderful person, and a massively inspirational life coach. If you’re lost, I highly recommend booking a session with her.

Now, on to the data: I mentioned a study in the show notes, but this is just one study that demonstrates sex differences in emotional experience, and it is pretty representative of the literature - in many ways - including its small sample size and self-reporting, and also didn’t account for hormone variability during the menstrual cycle. Like REALLY? This always annoyed me as a sex difference researcher. You couldn’t possibly be bothered to account for the massive surge in hormones that may or may not be bathing these women’s brains. Unreal, honestly. It makes me not want to buy into any of this shit… that and when scientists use ‘gender’ when they mean ‘sex’. Nomenclature matters here. Gender can mean that the subjects identify as male or female. Sex means: was you born with a dingaling or nah?

In science, we consider meta-analyses to be the highest quality of evidence and the meta-analyses of fMRI (brain activity) suggest that women’s brains are more responsive to emotional stimuli1. Ugh, I hate footnotes and citations. Women have a higher prevalence of depression and anxiety, and while we often say that women are more likely to visit doctors and therapists, this seems to be rooted in biology. The effect by which biology is influenced by culture is difficult to parse.

In general, men seem to experience less emotional activation than women, especially with regard to negative emotions. This graph is hilarious to me because it reinforces an age-old stereotype about men2:

The only time men were more emotional than women.

So, yeah. We’re more emotional than men, but girls outperform boys in detecting non-verbal emotional cues3. So… all those big emotions make us better at noticing others’ emotions? Really cool, Mother Nature. Thanks for that. We get to feel all the feels and then feel them for other people, fuckin sweet deal.

While I’m at it might as well let you know that IQ does correlate with long-term happiness4 and success5.

I know, not nice.

Not nice at all. I don’t like it at all. Like not only are you dumb, but also poor, and miserable - FUCKIN’ THANKS! LOLOL

Sorry.

XOXO-

N

1

Stevens, J. S., & Hamann, S. (2012). Sex differences in brain activation to emotional stimuli: A meta-analysis of neuroimaging studies. Neuropsychologia, 50(7), 1578–1593. doi:10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2012.03.011 

Domes, G., Schulze, L., Böttger, M., Grossmann, A., Hauenstein, K., Wirtz, P. H., … Herpertz, S. C. (2009). The neural correlates of sex differences in emotional reactivity and emotion regulation. Human Brain Mapping, 31(5), 758–769. doi:10.1002/hbm.20903 

2

Maffei A, Vencato V, Angrilli A (2015) Sex Differences in Emotional Evaluation of Film Clips: Interaction with Five High Arousal Emotional Categories. PLoS ONE 10(12): e0145562. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0145562 https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0145562

3

Thompson, A. E., & Voyer, D. (2014). Sex differences in the ability to recognise non-verbal displays of emotion: A meta-analysis. Cognition and Emotion, 28(7), 1164–1195. doi:10.1080/02699931.2013.875889

4

Ali, A., Ambler, G., Strydom, A., Rai, D., Cooper, C., McManus, S., … Hassiotis, A. (2012). The relationship between happiness and intelligent quotient: the contribution of socio-economic and clinical factors. Psychological Medicine, 43(06), 1303–1312. doi:10.1017/s0033291712002139 

5

T. Strenze Intelligence and socioeconomic success: a meta-analytic review of longitudinal research Intelligence, 35 (2007), pp. 401-426

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