Are you surprised? Well, if you have ever been in a car with a man who does not know where he is going and is too stubborn to ask for directions (or even to ask Siri), this may not be much of a stretch.
Apparently we have estrogen to thank for holding it together in times of stress. Score one more for the ladies.
A study published this week in The Journal of Molecular Psychiatry found that young female rats who were stressed out by a week of periodic physical restraint showed no impairment in their ability to remember or recognize objects they had been shown a few hours earlier. Young males exposed to the same stress conditions fared worse on the short-term memory test. Interestingly, when researchers manipulated the estrogen levels in the female rats’ brains, their ability to recall while under stress declined.
This may also explain why men have difficulty remembering directions or why women can get ten things done at once. Just saying.
It is still unclear why estrogen seems to aide females to respond better to stress, but it seems that the estrogen affect an amino acid called glutamate. Glutamate is involved in the completion of memory and planning tasks, and glutamate receptors comprise the majority of receptors in the prefrontal cortex of the brain. It is the region of the brain that controls executive functions such as memory, planning and decision-making. The prefrontal cortex of young males exposed to restraint stress showed a loss of glutamate receptors while the same area in females exposed to the same stress showed no change.
The report stated that other animal studies have also shown that females are better at handling stress than males. So you are free to conclude that females are simply the superior species. Well, at least when it comes to coping with stress.