Males and females acquire language differently: it has been well documented in children, where on average girls tend to speak earlier, with greater complexity, than boys. We also know that animals differ by sex in the ways they communicate.
Now a new study from the US may go some way to explaining why, because it finds that the brains of male rat pups contain more “language protein” than their female counterparts, while in humans it appears to be the other way around, boys have less than girls.
Scientists have found an early step in how the brain’s inhibitory cells get excited.
A natural balance of excitement and inhibition keeps the brain from firing electrical impulses randomly and excessively, resulting in problems such as schizophrenia and seizures. However excitement is required to put on the brakes.
The researchers found that the protein erbin, crucial to brain development, is critical to the excitement.
They also found that erbin is only present in inhibitory neurons, called interneurons. They’re already working on what they believe to be the counterpart for excitatory cells, which account for about 80 percent of brain cells.