Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Visual-spatial ability & sex   posted by Razib @ 5/30/2006 06:47:00 PM

More obviously non-controversial research on cognition and sex differences, Differences in cue use and spatial memory in men and women:

Men and women differ in their ability to solve spatial problems. There are two possible proximate explanations for this: (i) men and women differ in the kind (and value) of information they use and/or (ii) their cognitive abilities differ with respect to spatial problems. Using a simple computerized task which could be solved either by choosing an object based on what it looked like, or by its location, we found that the women relied on the object's visual features to solve the task, while the men used both visual and location information. There were no differences between the sexes in memory for the visual features of the objects, but women were poorer than men at remembering the locations of objects.

Science is like a box of chocolates, you don't get to know the details until you start rooting through it. Major tables with p values below the fold.

"Although the men tested tended to be older than the women (one-way ANOVA: F1,45=2.94, p=0.09) and the two experimenters tested subjects of significantly different ages (F1,45=9.24, p=0.004; experimenter A's subjects: mean, 22.44 years; range, 21-24; experimenter B's subjects: mean, 21.41 years; range, 20-24), age was not correlated with performance on either task (controlling for sex and experimenter; feature: F1,43=1.36, p=0.25; location: F1,43=0.45, p=0.50). Therefore, the observed differences in performance between the men and women on the location task is unlikely to have been due to differences in their ages."

"One-sample t-tests were used to determine whether the number of times that the men and women chose the new location on the probe trials differed from random (i.e. a score of three). The choices of the men did not differ from random (n=20, t=0.42, p=0.68), but those of the women did (n=20, t=-3.33, p=0.004). Women chose the new location significantly less often than would be expected if they were making choices at random."