Oestrogen can help women avoid car assidents

Tests showed attention span and ability to learn rules were far better among women than men. Scientists have claimed the reason is a difference between the way the brains of the two sexes work. The Bradford University scientists told a hormone conference in London how tasks requiring mental flexibility favour women over men, according to BBC News. A woman's oestrogen levels may prime the part of the brain involved in such skills - the frontal lobe - they said.

They asked 43 men and women aged 18-35 to perform a battery of neuropsychological tests that assessed skills such as spatial recognition memory, rule learning, attention, planning and motor control.

Researchers at the University of Bradford found that women are significantly better than men at shifting concentration.

This is not the same as the well-known female ability of multi-tasking, which involves dealing with more than one job at the same time, Scotsman reports.

This might explain why girls find it easier than boys to concentrate at school and why women are more careful drivers, the researchers hypothesise.

Speaking at the Society for Endocrinology meeting, they said: "This study demonstrates that tasks requiring mental flexibility favour women over men, an area previously not considered to elicit strong sex differences. A.M.

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