Gender differences

  • The degree of mu rhythm suppression in women is associated with presence of children as well as empathy and anxiety level

    In experiments on observing and performing social gestures, the level of mu rhythm suppression is associated with the activity of the mirror neuron system (MNS), which is responsible for the perception and understanding of nonverbal signals in social communication. In turn, while MNS activity may be associated primarily with empathy, it is also associated with other psychological and demographic factors affecting the effectiveness of cortical neural networks. In this study, we verified the influence of empathy, state and trait anxiety levels, presence and number of children, and age on the mu-suppression level in 40 women. We used 32-channel EEG recorded during observation, and synchronous execution of various hand movements. The ICA infomax method was used for decomposing and selecting the left hemisphere component of the mu-rhythm. Mu-suppression was higher in women with one child, with higher levels of empathy, and with lower anxiety levels. It is possible that MNS activity is stronger in women during parental care.