Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania report maps of neural connections show women's brains are highly connected across the left and right hemispheres.
In contrast, they said, in men's brains the connections are typically stronger between the front and back regions.
The researchers expressed surprise at how closely their findings matched long-held stereotypes, with men's brains apparently wired more for perception and coordinated actions, while women's were configured for social skills and memory, making them better equipped for multitasking.
"If you look at functional studies, the left of the brain is more for logical thinking, the right of the brain is for more intuitive thinking," researcher Ragini Verma told Britain's The Guardian. "So if there's a task that involves doing both of those things, it would seem that women are hardwired to do those better.
"Women are better at intuitive thinking. Women are better at remembering things," she said.
While male and female brains showed few differences in connectivity up to the age of 13, from that age on the difference become apparent, the researchers said.
"It's quite striking how complementary the brains of women and men really are," researcher and study co-author Ruben Gur said. "Detailed connectome maps of the brain will not only help us better understand the differences between how men and women think, but it will also give us more insight into the roots of neurological disorders, which are often sex-related."