Expert Author Beverly Keyes Taylor
Frank started a new job today. He works the opening shift at a local movie theater. People working the opening shift perform different tasks than the people closing the theater at day's end. Frank consults a mental checklist of tasks and goes about completing them. As Frank's shift neared the end, he focused on finishing the last of his listed tasks. Ann, a co-worker, came into the concession stand and began the 'closing shift' tasks. She started helping Frank while he completed his last tasks.
While Frank worked on his tasks, quite unexpectedly, Ann told Frank to clean the popcorn popper before he left. The people who work on 'closing' shift clean the popcorn popper, Frank thought. So, when he heard Ann ask that he clean the popper, he initially balked. Frank thought for a moment and asked Ann if cleaning the popper was an 'opening shift' or 'closing shift' task. Ann angrily told him to go home and that she would take care of it. Frank felt extremely confused and upset because he was just trying to learn his job. The following explains the brain chemistry of this situation.
Basic Science About the Human Brain
Brain research studies show significant differences in the brain chemistry between men and women. For example, based upon neurological and chemical design when interacting with others, women offer cooperation while men tend to prefer to work alone. Cooperation and working together increases her oxytocin and working alone increases his testosterone.
Brain Chemistry For This Situation
So in the workplace, when a woman performs a task for someone, they expect reciprocal help. The woman's unspoken expectation of reciprocal help can be a point of contention especially when that expectation goes unfulfilled. The men in the office may be slow to help her unless they've developed the skill of wanting to help simply to contribute for the good of the group. In our story, Frank was new at the theater and had never "reciprocated" help with Ann.
A man's neurochemical design directs him to do only what is required of him as his hunter's body is designed to save energy whenever possible to prepare for hunting or an emergency. Unaware of a man's brain design functions, some people may judge a man's behavior as being self-centered or perhaps lazy if he refuses to help. But, his brain chemistry says something far different.
Thinking about helping others without being asked to help is innately foreign to a man, unless it's to solve an emergency and be a hero which increases his testosterone and dopamine. Men might spontaneously help to preserve life. A male's brain directs him to conserve energy and work most efficiently. Working efficiently means eliminating wasted motion or effort by performing those tasks absolutely necessary to complete a project.
The basic neurochemical science for women requires that women's brains need to produce adequate serotonin and oxytocin. Serotonin creates contentment and satisfaction feelings. Oxytocin creates a calm, relaxed, blissful feeling of well-being in women. These neurochemicals tend to be quickly depleted because today's women perform excessive testosterone-producing activities. Excess testosterone naturally depletes oxytocin causing a brain chemistry imbalance in women.