When you add stress to the equation, women are far more likely to overload

Sunday, August 22nd, 2021

Estrogen’s effect on the COMT (Warrior-Worrier) process is quite dramatic, Top Dog: The Science of Winning and Losing explains:

It slows down dopamine reabsorption by 30%, regardless of which genotype a woman is.


When you add stress to the equation, women are far more likely to overload.


Lighthall and Mather found that the differences between men and women were very small when they just came into the lab and played the [risk-taking] game. But if they first had to submerge a hand in ice water, then play, the differences were dramatic. Women took less risk after being stressed; they made decisions more slowly and earned less money for themselves. Meanwhile, for men, the stress actually improved their performance. They took more risk, and it was smart risk — the stressed men earned more money overall. They also made faster decisions.


For women, the emotional regions of the brain increased activity after stress; their decision making became entangled with their emotions. But for men, there was no increase in emotionality — stress made them more calculated.

In further research, the scholars found that, in the back of our brains, in the optical cortex, there’s a region where we process the visual look on faces, to read the subtle cues of mood. When women have been stressed, this region markedly increases its activity, but in men, the activity in that region is suppressed.

Under stress, men’s brains tune out emotional cues. Women under stress seek out the emotional cues.


  1. McChuck says:

    And this is reason #5,234 why women shouldn’t be in the combat branches of the armed forces. As verified by the experiences of every single man who has served with women.

  2. VXXC says:

    I’m glad we have science to tell us what every married man and no doubt Father has known for the last million years or so.

    #Taliban2024: I’m tired of losing.

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