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← New study disputes notion that men are better at spatial thinking than women

New study disputes notion that men are better at spatial thinking than women - Comments

Neodarwinian's Avatar Comment 1 by Neodarwinian

Women receiving androgens ( such as in sex changes and other procedures ) have improved spatial ability. The converse seems also true.

There may be variances that account for one society being matrilineal and the other patrilineal that are not fully cultural , but more physical in nature. I think this study reaches too far and is too well opposed by the evidence we already have here. Let this be subjected to repeatability and review. I would even go so for as to say this is a rear guard action by the nurture crew.

PS The break away point is rotating objects in three dimensional space, not two.

PSS Matrilineal DOES not mean run by women anymore than patrilineal means run by men!

What difference does it make to the truth of the matter what anyone wants, PERSON?

Thu, 01 Sep 2011 15:44:20 UTC | #866360

PERSON's Avatar Comment 2 by PERSON

There are people who don't want this to be true, and those who want it to be. One should take care not to fall into either group.

Thu, 01 Sep 2011 15:54:52 UTC | #866361

NealOKelly's Avatar Comment 3 by NealOKelly

So basically, what this is saying is that the reason my wife can't read a map is cultural? ;-)

Thu, 01 Sep 2011 15:57:39 UTC | #866364

drumdaddy's Avatar Comment 4 by drumdaddy

oops, the first paragraph is repeated (please delete this)

Thu, 01 Sep 2011 16:08:28 UTC | #866372

blitz442's Avatar Comment 5 by blitz442

Neodarwinian

Let this be subjected to repeatability and review. I would even go so for as to say this is a rear guard action by the nurture crew.

Agreed. Let the nurture crew, if they have not done so already, also subject the assertion that women have innately better verbal skills to the same level of scrutiny.

Some studies have shown that infants as young as 3 months old show gender differences in spatial skills.

I think that the truth is that small, but significant, non-socially determined discrepancies are subsequently magnified by differential socialization of the child depending on his/her gender.

Thu, 01 Sep 2011 16:13:48 UTC | #866374

PERSON's Avatar Comment 6 by PERSON

Supposing the finding can be repeated, I'd like a genetic study on the groups where spatial ability is similar between sexes that would allow comparison with other groups that lack such parity. It may be a product of evolution and historical, local pressures, rather than social conditioning. However, I think there are plenty of people who do not make sufficient allowance for phenotypic variation given a particular genome.

Thu, 01 Sep 2011 16:20:00 UTC | #866378

Cartomancer's Avatar Comment 7 by Cartomancer

I tried to read this study, buy I couldn't get my clumsy fingers to work the mouse pad properly, and ended up scratching my own knee instead.

Thu, 01 Sep 2011 16:34:26 UTC | #866384

ZenDruid's Avatar Comment 8 by ZenDruid

I found myself disoriented whenever I looked at a flat screen monitor, back in the day. Damnit, monitors are supposed to have a convex bulge in the middle.

Thu, 01 Sep 2011 16:55:23 UTC | #866389

jbyrd's Avatar Comment 9 by jbyrd

I agree with the criticism within the article, "Others however are still not convinced; some suggest that assembling a wooden puzzle doesn’t truly demonstrate spatial abilities at all since it’s actually just a two dimensional puzzle."

Thu, 01 Sep 2011 17:25:10 UTC | #866398

Premiseless's Avatar Comment 10 by Premiseless

For spatial thinking per se, I think education and available experimental observation is probably most significant. For example, it was not too many moons ago that most people would visualize the Earth as flat because they were told it was so, and soldiers blazing a trail were usually well travelled men exposed to greater experimental observations de facto.

But education and experience is unlikely the only variable:

I think some individuals are imprinted from early childhood with spatial restrictions (inhibited thinking) due their environment not stimulating it maximally or accurately - in the same way some are fed a fiction (religions) and are hard pressed to lose it, for life, or at least to catch up with peers who escaped such blights on their consciousness.

Genetic capabilities likely posit some variance on this across both sexes, but to what degree this might be biased toward one sex over another also will likely be due various factors - and I think fears are a nasty inhibitor of clear thought per se due the devil in the dark or god in the bathroom type lunacy. Cultural expectations likely lead ones ambitions to want to become more spatially connected in different directions. If you're one of the millions of muslim women, which of you need to consider flying an aircraft when males dominate such potentials? This kind of subliminal anchorage or letting go of ones mind into potential future realities might be a bigger influence than is clearly evident. If you tell a million individuals they might become a world class footballer some will do so, but the proportion likely to make it are likely men, with the womens game deemed lesser due the mean range of physical development being lesser. Some women will outperform most men but less than men who outperform all women. We need similar barometers to test when the reverse is the case and whether this is in general or for the elite alone.e.g. how much genetic reproduction has transmitted down the centuries to ensure more physically developed males dominate the pool as compared to the females whose role is less a physical extreme and whether the same can be said for spatial thinking per se?

Maybe we will see, due such studies, which gender role, as heritage plus reproduction, has indeed sold short, over generations, males or females in the various domains of thought and physical potentials etc. or indeed whether any that we have are likely too costly a trade off for ones we might be better placed as having in our current environment?

Thu, 01 Sep 2011 17:49:44 UTC | #866401

Cobra in the fire's Avatar Comment 11 by Cobra in the fire

Ok... Do I believe a woman can be as good at spatial awareness as a man, yes I do.

Given that the capacity is obviously there, then if any small differences even exist, they are indeed small and can be overcome by education in any case. I won't justify that statement, because I shouldn't bloody well need to. It is 2011, not 1911, for gods sake.

I also know men who are useless at spatial tasks. Do I think that says something about men? It's the usual fallacy. Some people who are different to us are crap at something so some of us extrapolate that to all of them. When one of us does the same, some of us think it's just that particular person who is rubbish at it. Nice to see some people generalising.

Maybe we could also chuck in the studies about lesbians being better drivers because they think like men. Oh, sorry that would be offensive, quasi scientific and mildly bigoted about a group of people we don't belong to. Oh... Er...hang on.

Are men and women the same? No. But that is irrelevant. This is about mental skills which are learned. I don't accept that women are automatically superior communicators than I am, so why would I accept that they are automatically inferior spatially in some way?

Are women intellectually equivalent when given similar opportunity? yes...This is clearly so, if you actually bother to look for it, and only someone with a thinly disguised or sublimated mysogyny believes otherwise.

Thu, 01 Sep 2011 18:14:08 UTC | #866407

Cobra in the fire's Avatar Comment 12 by Cobra in the fire

Ok... Do I believe a woman can be as good at spatial awareness as a man, yes I do.

Given that the capacity is obviously there, then if any small differences even exist, they are indeed small and can be overcome by education in any case. I won't justify that statement, because I shouldn't bloody well need to. It is 2011, not 1911, for gods sake.

I also know men who are useless at spatial tasks. Do I think that says something about men? It's the usual fallacy. Some people who are different to us are crap at something so some of us extrapolate that to all of them. When one of us does the same, some of us think it's just that particular person who is rubbish at it. Nice to see some people generalising.

Maybe we could also chuck in the studies about lesbians being better drivers because they think like men. Oh, sorry that would be offensive, quasi scientific and mildly bigoted about a group of people we don't belong to. Oh... Er...hang on.

Are men and women the same? No. But that is irrelevant. This is about mental skills which are learned. I don't accept that women are automatically superior communicators than I am, so why would I accept that they are automatically inferior spatially in some way?

Are women intellectually equivalent when given similar opportunity? yes...This is clearly so, if you actually bother to look for it, and only someone with a thinly disguised or sublimated mysogyny believes otherwise.

Thu, 01 Sep 2011 18:14:34 UTC | #866408

hfaber's Avatar Comment 13 by hfaber

With this kind of articles I always wonder: what's the effect size? A very small difference may be statistically significant, but it is still very small, so therefore not significant in daily life. But they never give info about effect sizes.

Thu, 01 Sep 2011 18:21:13 UTC | #866409

skiles1's Avatar Comment 14 by skiles1

Yes, but we're still taller.

Thu, 01 Sep 2011 18:42:03 UTC | #866413

blitz442's Avatar Comment 15 by blitz442

Comment 14 by skiles1

Yes, but we're still taller

Without even looking, I guarantee that there are people who believe that the world-wide average height difference favoring adult men (both in the mean height and in the composition of genders in the ultra-tall cohort) is completely determined by culture.

Thu, 01 Sep 2011 18:55:27 UTC | #866419

GPWC's Avatar Comment 16 by GPWC

I'll tell you what is a fact - spatial problem solving gets a lot worse with age. Maybe the decline doesn't start till your mid 40s or something, but if you are going to do experiments, then age is also a factor to consider.

Thu, 01 Sep 2011 19:10:02 UTC | #866422

Neodarwinian's Avatar Comment 17 by Neodarwinian

@ Cobra

Ideologizing ( my coin ) the evidence away does not make it disappear. People can compensate for inherited traits and there is wide overlap in the traits being discussed, that is called distributing, not generalizing. Are all mental skills learned? Then we should have no variance if the environment is held constant, but we do. And the first paragraph was written to capitalize on ideological positions held by both " sides " in this debate ( whatever that means ) and to start a ideological flame war.

Sating you won't justify a statement because of what year it is make no sense Did " sublimated misogyny " come out of your Freudian playbook? If so, some of us do not seem to know what year it really is.

What drops with age, GPWC?

Thu, 01 Sep 2011 19:11:11 UTC | #866423

blitz442's Avatar Comment 18 by blitz442

Comment 16 by GPWC

I wonder if that is one of the main reasons why most top chess players are under 45 (other than things like deteriorating physical endurance, burnout, family considerations, etc.). Since success at chess depends heavily on long-term memory, I have wondered for awhile now why there is such a drop-off among the top players after a certain age.

Thu, 01 Sep 2011 19:26:09 UTC | #866425

Mr DArcy's Avatar Comment 19 by Mr DArcy

Women are undoubtedly superior to men because they produce babies, they live longer and apparently bear pain better. So what? We all have far more in common than we have differences.

Thu, 01 Sep 2011 19:29:26 UTC | #866426

blitz442's Avatar Comment 20 by blitz442

Comment 19 by Mr DArcy

Women are undoubtedly superior to men because they produce babies, they live longer and apparently bear pain better

As always, it depends on which study you are looking at : )

Thu, 01 Sep 2011 19:41:32 UTC | #866429

seals's Avatar Comment 21 by seals

Oh dear, as a somewhat spatially challenged woman I now feel I'm letting down the side ;) I always had the cliched female qualities. Whether this had anything to do with being refused the opportunity for woodwork and technical drawing at school and being made to do knitting, sewing and cookery all of which I was useless at, I have no idea. However, this just might be one of the statistically inevitable studies that came up with the wrong result.

Thu, 01 Sep 2011 19:45:45 UTC | #866430

Stevezar's Avatar Comment 22 by Stevezar

Comment 1 by Neodarwinian : Let this be subjected to repeatability...

It already is. Check out the first and second paragraph...

Thu, 01 Sep 2011 19:46:09 UTC | #866431

Schrodinger's Cat's Avatar Comment 23 by Schrodinger's Cat

Comment 19 by Mr DArcy

Women are undoubtedly superior to men because they produce babies, they live longer and apparently bear pain better.

I'm quite happy with my natural biological role as a sperm donor. I know my place.

Thu, 01 Sep 2011 20:00:01 UTC | #866435

rod-the-farmer's Avatar Comment 24 by rod-the-farmer

I always thought men were better (generally speaking) at spatial recognition, and women were better at detecting emotions. Vive la difference ! To each his own, that is why we make good partners. In my experience, one thing men are better at than women is driving a car in reverse.

Thu, 01 Sep 2011 20:05:15 UTC | #866437

blitz442's Avatar Comment 25 by blitz442

Men are better at pointless arguments.

Thu, 01 Sep 2011 20:08:40 UTC | #866439

Tyler Durden's Avatar Comment 26 by Tyler Durden

Comment 25 by blitz442 :

Men are better at pointless arguments.

No we're not.

Thu, 01 Sep 2011 20:18:58 UTC | #866444

Premiseless's Avatar Comment 27 by Premiseless

It amazes me that the unreasonable dominance of fictional demands dominates most of the planets consciousness - irrespective of the fact that more rational ways of thinking might seem more advanced or 'superior'.

It is clear to me that unreasonable consciousness dominance prevails in spite of 'superior' methods being widely known about amongst our species.

With this in mind one doesn't need to know where one is going to get someone to take you there.

Spatial awareness might be considered a skill for a serf? ;-)

Thu, 01 Sep 2011 20:23:18 UTC | #866445

blitz442's Avatar Comment 28 by blitz442

Comment 27 by Premiseless

unreasonable dominance of fictional demands

Could you possibly have a reasonable "dominance of fictional demands"?

unreasonable consciousness dominance

Can you explain what you mean by this term?

Thu, 01 Sep 2011 20:59:01 UTC | #866459

Premiseless's Avatar Comment 29 by Premiseless

Comment 28 by blitz442 :

Comment 27 by Premiseless

unreasonable dominance of fictional demands

Could you possibly have a reasonable "dominance of fictional demands"?

Unreasonable dominance is the proactive force.

What you refer to is something else.

unreasonable consciousness dominance

Can you explain what you mean by this term?

Consciousness demands of any kind that are unreasonably dominant and applied by being; oppressive , coercive, bullying and insistent upon subversion. It's not so much what you know as how you learn to dominate other individuals to do all this for you via a coaxed serf like gratitude - real or imposed.

Thu, 01 Sep 2011 21:32:10 UTC | #866468

Nunbeliever's Avatar Comment 30 by Nunbeliever

As some of the comments on this page show the problem with gender studies is that people seem to be way too biased in either direction. Yes, there are differences between men and women. Yes, there is nothing wrong with studying these differences. No more than its wrong to study whether homosexuality has a genetical or a social basis. The problem though is that people take these studies the wrong way. Suddenly people make the case that women are less suitable as scientists in fields that rely upon spatial thinking. This is what really annoys me. These differences are at best very small. There is a huge overlap between men and women. Just because you are a man does not mean you have superior spatial abilities. I find it frustrating that many still tend to speak in terms of women and men when the most important factor is the individual. Humans are as we all know complex beings. Yes our genes are important but putting people into boxes because they are men or women is ridiculous and foremost unscientific in the worst possible way. You see this even in kindergarten where development psychologists make a clear distinction between boys and girls. Yes, there are of course differences and in some cases it makes sense to highlight these. In most cases though these policies ironically seem to be more or less self-fullfilling profecies. We claim men and women are different and not very suprisingly men and women suddenly express these differences. And voila, the scientists can lean back with a self-righteous smile and say: "See, men and women are really different". I am highly skeptical of all gender related studies since there is almost always a political agenda behind these studies.

Thu, 01 Sep 2011 22:07:16 UTC | #866480