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Last Updated: Thursday, 18 March, 2004, 13:47 GMT
Men in touch with feminine side
David Beckham
Some men such as David Beckham display traditionally female traits
New research has discovered that almost one in five men are officially in touch with their feminine side.

A Cambridge University study found 17% of men have "female brains", while 14% of women have a "masculine brain".

A team led by Professor Simon Baron-Cohen believes the research will help them understand the way the human brain is formed.

The study found the sex of a brain is decided in the womb and depends, among other factors, on hormone levels.

The team believes it may help explain why some men - such as David Beckham - have several key "female" traits such as keen fashion sense.

Scientists have found there are three types of brain - masculine, feminine and asexual, a mix of both male and female characteristics.

The research was carried out by testing fluid present in the wombs of 100 expectant mothers and then studying the children on their first birthday.

Luckily the majority of people have a mix of male and female brain characteristics, so can enjoy the best of both worlds
Amanda Britton, psychologist
Researchers found those with higher levels of testosterone in the fluid had developed male brains, while those with less had female brains.

The difference between the two is that female brains are programmed for empathy while male brains are governed by a need to understand and build systems.

Experts believe the type of brain affects the way people socialise, the type of job they opt for or how successful they are in relationships.

Psychologist Amanda Britton said: "People with a feminine brain or personality trait tend to be passive-aggressives.

"This means they are unlikely to assault somebody directly, but will instead channel their anger into a verbal snipe.

"This contrasts with typical male brain behaviour which dictates a more direct approach. This results in a 'hit first, ask questions later' method."

She added: "Luckily the majority of people have a mix of male and female brain characteristics, so can enjoy the best of both worlds."

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