Are men better than women? Scientists say not really
Researchers have found that there is no male advantage in mental rotation abilities associated with spatial cognition competences, by employing cutting-edge eye-tracking technology. The study was conducted by researchers at Lero, the Science Foundation Ireland Research Centre for Software, University of Limerick (UL), Ireland. It was published in the journal Scientific Reports. Dr. Campbell said the skill of spatial cognition or our ability to navigate our environment has been the battleground for almost 40 years for researchers claiming that males have a distinct performance advantage on tests of spatial cognition, notably the mental rotations test. Studying the cognitive proficiency of individuals and gamers is a key aim of the Lero Esports Science Research Lab which opened in 2019 and is the first of its kind in Ireland. “Better performance on these tests is strongly associated with higher IQ and better performance in STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Maths) subjects in schools and colleges,” Dr. Campbell explained.
Dr. Toth sums up the results: “So males are better than females? Well no, actually. Our study found that there is no male advantage in mental rotation abilities. By lengthening the time allowed to complete the test, the male performance advantage diminished entirely suggesting that the so-called sex difference in mental rotation is simply not there or maybe explained by other factors.”
The research also found for the first time that both males and females frequently employed different gaze strategies during the cognitive tests to get to the correct answer. In other words, men and women approach the task in a different way to get the same result.
One hundred University of Limerick (UL) undergraduate and postgraduate level psychology and sports science students volunteered to take part in the test carried out by the Lero researchers. The 47 men and 53 women were in good health and had an average age of 23.
(This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text. Only the headline has been changed.)