“This is interesting. Research shows a more active dopamine system in most men” than in women, said Hermundur Sigmundsson, Professor at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology’s (NTNU) Department of Psychology.
The study, published in the journal New Ideas in Psychology, tested 917 people (502 women and 415 men) aged 14 to 77, to understand men and women’s differing activity in the dopamine system.
“We looked at gender differences around passion, self-discipline and positive attitude,” Sigmundsson said. The study refers to these qualities as passion, grit and mindset.
The results for the women, however, are somewhat more ambiguous than men’s strong need to burn for something, and this study found no such gender difference, the researchers said.
Some individuals with autism may become very interested in certain topics, which can be a bit unusual, or even strange, for most people. People on the autism spectrum can focus intensely on these topics or pursuits, at least for a while. Dopamine may play a role.
“Other research in neuroscience has shown hyperactivity in the dopamine system in individuals with autism, and boys make up four out of five children on the autism spectrum. This, and dopamine’s relationship to passion, might be a mechanism that helps to explain this behaviour,” Sigmundsson noted.