He is better at navigating, she remembers where the keys are: Conference highlights cognitive differences between men and women


By Eddie Wrenn

PUBLISHED: 07:34 EST, 2 May 2012 | UPDATED: 07:34 EST, 2 May 2012

The battle of the sexes has raged for centuries and will likely never end.

But at least now, scientific research can shed light on some of the biological and physiological differences between men and women.

The British Psychological Society Annual Conference, held last month, highlighted some of the differences in cognitive abilities between sexes.

For instance, studies show that men have better spatial awareness skills, whereas women are stronger with verbal fluency and greater memory for objects.

With these traits generally replicated across cultures and nations, it indicates a biological origin in nature.

Diane Halpern, a professor of psychology at Claremont McKenna College in California, spoke at the London-based conference, hoping to correct the belief popularised in the 1980s that men and women’s brains are wired almost identically, and it is culture and nature that causes difference.

During her speech, as reported by Live Science, she said: ‘We do socialise our boys and girls differently, but the contribution of biology is not zero.’

Some key differences between men and women believed to be biological in nature include men having a stronger ability to think of objects in 3D, helping them to navigate. This difference has even been spotted in studies involving babies of only three months old.

However women are ‘better at remembering where things are’ and are more likely to navigate via landmarks rather than the generally male trait of navigating by sense of direction.

Men and women both have different ways to get from A to B - a trait that seems to transcend cultureMen and women both have different ways to get from A to B – a trait that seems to transcend culture

Some perceived differences between the sexes are down to cultural pressure – for instance, Halpern said, there is a belief that men are better at mathematical problems and women are better at reading and writing, but these differences tend to fade in more gender-equal societies.

There is also widespread criticism about standardised testing being biased towards one sex or the other.

If gender is not an issue for society anymore, the question was posed: Why are 90 per cent of company managers male, and 90 per cent of secretaries female?

Halpern said that while women do most of the ‘caretaking’ jobs, such as childraising or helping the elderly, the inequality will remain. But she added that, on the other side, society was losing many talented men on the domestic, caregiving front.

She added: ‘We can’t have equality in work, if we don’t have equality in the home.’

For a fuller report, visit Live Science.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2138383/He-better-navigating-remembers-keys-Conference-highlights-cognitive-differences-men-women.html#ixzz1tQiMcUod



Posted on May 2, 2012, in Health / Medicine, Science / Technology and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Reblogged this on Boundaries of the Soul and commented:
    Interesting but how true is this?

    • Well these differences are less observable in today’s society due to the emergence of GPS technology, cellphones, and electronic calendars/reminders, which levels the playing field in terms of the natural cognitive differences.

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