Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Everyone better at reading maps than women

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IT has long been a tedious joke that women are bad at reading maps.

But could there be some truth in it?

A new study into the mental skills required to read a map has handed blokes new ammunition and dealt heterosexual women a final indignity.

The research, from the University of Warwick in the UK, suggests that not only are straight women worse at map reading than straight males, they are also outperformed by bisexual men, gay men, gay women and bisexual women - in that order.

The study looked at what's called mental rotation. This is our ability to mentally visualise an object from different perspectives.

Applied to real life, the most practical example of mental rotation is map reading, says Dr Michael Tlauka, an expert in gender differences and spatial ability from Flinders University.

This is one mental task where studies have shown that men consistently outperform women, Dr Tlauka says.

"It is absolutely true that mental rotation is the task of all spatial tasks where you get the biggest sex difference," he says.

"Men tend to be much better at mental rotation than women."

He says the old chestnut about men being better map readers than women is actually rooted in fact.

"It's not a myth at all - map reading and spatial skills in general, you'll find that men outperform women."

Source : News

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