Finally - why women can't read maps

  • #1
Finally - why women can't read maps
From correspondents in New Mexico
January 24, 2005

MEN frequently despair at women's map-reading skills - or rather their lack of them. Now scientists believe they have pinpointed the reason for this conflict between the sexes.

Researchers say it is all down to differences in the reliance of the sexes on either grey matter or white matter in their brains to solve problems.

They found that in intelligence tests men use 6.5 times as much grey matter as women, but women use nine times as much white matter.

[ . . . ]

Complete article at http://www.news.com.au/story/0,10117,12033956-13762,00.html [Broken]
 
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Answers and Replies

  • #2
Kerrie
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let's not be biased in providing these sort of links. is your intention here to smear women? or just to promote men for the lack of your own security?
:smile: interesting the article does say this though:

Research has also found that in childhood, girls' vocabulary develops more quickly and that in later life women can speak 20,000 to 25,000 words a day compared to a man's 7000 to 10,000.
the basis of this article is men can read maps better (although the joke is they don't like to follow directions), but women can speak more fluently.

:rofl:
 
  • #3
arildno
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It seems to me, that there is quite a lot of cross-cultural studies which indicate that women have somewhat less developed spatial orientation skills than men (on average).

Since it is cross-cultural, we might possibly link it to a difference in genetics.
 
  • #5
Kerrie said:
let's not be biased in providing these sort of links. is your intention here to smear women? or just to promote men for the lack of your own security?
:smile: interesting the article does say this though:
Science is science, regardless of the conclusions or regardless of whose feelings gets hurt.

That being said, I have negative opinions of both genders: While I find women to be too sentimental, I find men to be too violent. Both genders are way too irrational. Basically, I find the human species itself to be genetically undesirable and requiring a complete redesigning.

Cheers!
 
  • #6
Evo
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I am better than any man I've ever known when it comes to reading maps or figuring out directions. I have an uncanny "sense" for direction. If you ever get lost in the woods, you'll want me around. :wink:

You can stereotype people, but there will always be exceptions.
 
  • #7
selfAdjoint
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Evo, I agree. In my family the women are much better navigators than the men, who tend to go off in a daydream and miss landmarks. As my father used to say, "I'm not lost, I'm just enjoying the landscape."
 
  • #8
Evo said:
I am better than any man I've ever known when it comes to reading maps or figuring out directions. I have an uncanny "sense" for direction. If you ever get lost in the woods, you'll want me around. :wink:

You can stereotype people, but there will always be exceptions.
Studies like this are all about averages: men on average have better visio-spatial/mathematical abilities, and women on average have better verbal abilities. And there are plenty of exceptions. Coming from a cultural background that has been given many negative attributes, I personally am a very conspicuous exception as well.
 
  • #9
Tom Mattson
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Kerrie said:
the basis of this article is men can read maps better (although the joke is they don't like to follow directions), but women can speak more fluently.
Actually I think it says that women speak more profusely. Hey, I think these people are on to something! :biggrin:
 
  • #10
Evo
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Tom Mattson said:
Actually I think it says that women speak more profusely. Hey, I think these people are on to something! :biggrin:
I have to agree with women being more talkative. :wink:

Scientific Method said:
Studies like this are all about averages: men on average have better visio-spatial/mathematical abilities, and women on average have better verbal abilities.
I really haven't noticed better verbal abilities in adult women as opposed to adult men although I think young girls on average develop these skills quicker.

Women tend to multi-task better from what I have observed.
 
  • #11
Kerrie
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Evo said:
I am better than any man I've ever known when it comes to reading maps or figuring out directions. I have an uncanny "sense" for direction. If you ever get lost in the woods, you'll want me around. :wink:

You can stereotype people, but there will always be exceptions.
Ditto here Evo, as I do a lot of traveling to cities all over the Pacific Northwest and have that sense of direction you are talking about from putting on tens of thousands of driving miles.


Science is science, regardless of the conclusions or regardless of whose feelings gets hurt.
No, science can be reported with incorrect results very easily, do remember as humans we are imperfect and can report results imperfectly. What is your intent with this thread anyhow? Especially since you only addressed part of the article.
 
  • #12
Kerrie said:
Especially since you only addressed part of the article.
I did not address any part, I posted the title as it was named in the original article. Perhaps you should contact the original researchers and let them know you find their conclusions to be politically incorrect and emotionally troubling for you.

Cheers!
 
  • #13
Kerrie
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Scientific Method said:
I did not address any part, I posted the title as it was named in the original article. Perhaps you should contact the original researchers and let them know you find their conclusions to be politically incorrect and emotionally troubling for you.

Cheers!
i'll requote your opening post here, then tell me you didn't address any part.
:biggrin:


MEN frequently despair at women's map-reading skills - or rather their lack of them. Now scientists believe they have pinpointed the reason for this conflict between the sexes.
from the two women here who are able to read maps, i would say you need to reconsider your original resources.
 
  • #14
My opening post was simply the first few paragraphs of the article, followed by the link to the rest, as is the standard procedure for posting articles. None of that was my own words.

But, shouldn't science stand on its own, regardless of the motives of the scientist? Even if differential gender psychology reseachers were "anti-woman," as you seem to say of them, what would that have to do with the validity of the reseach itself?

Cheers!
 
  • #15
Kerrie
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Scientific Method said:
My opening post was simply the first few paragraphs of the article, followed by the link to the rest, as is the standard procedure for posting articles. None of that was my own words.

But, shouldn't science stand on its own, regardless of the motives of the scientist? Even if differential gender psychology reseachers were "anti-woman," as you seem to say of them, what would that have to do with the validity of the reseach itself?

Cheers!
I know what your opening post was. My question was why did you post it? Was it your intent to inform others that "scientific research" claims women can't read maps? Was it meant to be a little joke? How many people were sampled? Was it just done in a certain area, say like a small town where the majority of women may be homemakers rather then the women living in a larger city who must navigate themselves around busy roads and such?

There is a lot of bias in science, depending on who is profiting and who wants people to think what. You really have to question the validity of these "tests". Just like you really have to question the validity and intent of your newssources at times...don't take everything at face value because it calls itself "science".
 
  • #16
Astronuc
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Scientific Method said:
Science is science
Red is red, and stupid is stupid, i.e. the original statement does not add anything meaningful to the arguement.

Science can be abused and misinterpreted.

Actually, most men (many of whom are scientists or engineers) I know are poor at giving directions and using maps. In general, many men simply are too embarassed to ask for help when they are lost.

On average, most women I know are no worse with map reading than most men I know. It all depends on the individual.

As Kerrie pointed out, "There is a lot of bias in science". Not only that, there seems to be a general and systemic bias against women in most societies. I would even venture to speculate that too many men suffer from lack of self-esteem (or otherwise feelings of inadequacy) to the point that they have to belittle women. Shame that.

Science and knowledge should be used to enhance humanity. I think very little of "science" or "pseudo-science" that is used to denigrate any person or persons.

The genius of women is a given. Whether or not men appreciate that is another matter.
 
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  • #17
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I would also urge those in the scientific community to realize that our idea of "science" is highly biased by culture. By that token, no scientific "fact" should be taken as a universal, despite whatever cross-cultural (and probably inaccurate) studies have been done.
 
  • #18
to astronuc: agreed. I think true manhood is to be confident about your own sexuality. A real man is not afraid to let women tower above him.
 
  • #19
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Anecdotal evidence notwithstanding, there is a lot of proof that on average women have slightly poorer spatial skills than men, and on average men have slightly poorer verbal skills than women. This says nothing about any particular individual.

Real men and women are not afraid to face the facts.
 
  • #20
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Arthur Jensen on sex differences in visual-spatial abilities

Scientific Method said:
Finally - why women can't read maps
From correspondents in New Mexico
January 24, 2005

MEN frequently despair at women's map-reading skills - or rather their lack of them.
Visual-Spatial Abilities. These abilities favor males and have the largest and most consistent sex differences of any psychometric abilities. The factor analysis of various kinds of tests of visual- spatial abilities reveals about ten distinct subfactors. [3] All of these analyses show a sex difference favoring males, but the largest difference is on tests that require visualizing 2-dimensional or 3dimensional figures that have to be rotated or manipulated mentally in 3dimensional space....

...The defining characteristic for spatial problems is that, in order to obtain the correct solution, the subject must visualize and manipulate the figural material mentally as if it were an object in three-dimensional space. Men, on average, excel women in this type of performance. Meta-analyses of the sex difference on various composites of spatialvisualization tests yield average d values in the range of .30 to.50 for the general population.... [2c,d,i , 4]

Since the sex difference in spatial ability is ubiquitous throughout the human species (and is even found in other mammalian species), the consensus of expert opinion today doubts that the phenomenon is explainable purely in terms of environmental or cultural factors. The sex difference in spatial ability appears to be a sex-limited trait, which means that the genetic basis of individual differences in the trait is the same for both sexes, but that some other factor that differs between the sexes has the effect of limiting the expression of the trait in one sex. The best present evidence is that this additional factor involves the individual's estrogen/testosterone balance, which of course differs quite markedly in men and women. [5] Within each sex there is a nonlinear (inverted-U) relationship between an individual's position on the estrogen/testosterone continuum and the individual's level of spatial ability, with the optimal level of testosterone above the female mean and below the male mean. Generally, females with markedly above-average testosterone levels (for females) and males with below-average levels of testosterone (for males) tend to have higher levels of spatial ability, relative to the average spatial ability for their own sex.
(Arthur Jensen. The g Factor. Chapter 13: Sex Differences In g. pp533-534.)
 
  • #21
http://www.ssc.uwo.ca/psychology/faculty/rushtonpdfs/Gould.pdf [Broken]

Sex Differences: What Gould Doesnt Want You To Know

An absolute difference in brain size between men and women has not been disputed since at least the time of Broca (1861). He assembled a series of 292 male brains and found an average weight of 1,325 grams, while 140 female brains averaged 1,144 grams, a difference of 181 grams. Gould claimed that the sex difference disappears when appropriate statistical corrections are made for body size or age of people sampled. However, when Gould used multiple regression to remove the simultaneous influence of height and age, he only succeeded in reducing the sex difference by one third, to 113 grams. Gould then invoked additional unspecified age and body parameters, claiming that if these could be controlled the entire difference would disappear.

David Ankney (1992) questioned Gould's methodology. He reexamined autopsy data on 1,261 American adults (Ho et al., 1980) and found that at any given body surface area or height, mens brains are heavier than are womens brains. For example, among those who are 168-cm tall (5' 7"; the approximately overall mean height for men and women combined), brain mass of men averages about 100 g heavier than that of women, whereas the average difference in brain mass, uncorrected for body size, is 140 g. Thus, only about 30% of the sex difference in brain size is due to differences in body size.

Ankney's (1992) results were confirmed in the study of cranial capacity in a stratified random sample of 6,325 U.S. Army personnel (Rushton, 1992). After adjustment, via analysis of covariance, for effects of age, stature, weight, military rank, and race, men averaged 1,442 cm3 and women 1,332 cm3. This difference was found in all of 20 or more separate analyses performed to rule out any body-size effect (see Rushton, 1992; pp. 406-408). Moreover, the male/female difference was replicated across samples of Asians, Whites, and Blacks, as well as across samples of officers and enlisted personnel. The sex difference of 110 cm3 found by Rushton (1992) from analysis of external head measurements is remarkably similar to the 100 grams obtained in Ankney's (1992) analysis of brain mass (1 cm3 = 1.036 grams, Hofmann, 1991).

The brain size studies do present a paradox. Women have proportionately smaller brains than do men but, apparently, the same intelligence scores. This was recognized in stronger form over 100 years ago. [ . . . ] Gould's (1996, p. 135) response was a political one, namely "I do not regard as empty rhetoric a claim that the battles of one group are for all of us". David Ankney (1992, 1995) had a more scientific response. He suggested that the difference in brain size relates to those intellectual abilities at which men excel; that spatial and mathematical ability may require more "brain" power than do verbal abilities. Other theories are that men average slightly higher in general intelligence than do women (Lynn, 1994b); or that these particular differences in brain size have nothing to do with cognitive ability but reflect greater male muscle mass and physical co-ordination on tasks like throwing and catching.

[ . . . ]

With respect to the evolution of sex differences in brain size, Ankney (1992, 1995) hypothesized that differing roles of men and women during human evolution produced a sexual divergence in brain size and in abilities. Men roamed from the home base to hunt, which would select for targeting ability and navigational skills; women were relatively sedentary. Such additional abilities would have selected for relatively larger brains in men as it may require more brain tissue to process spatial information. Lynn (1994b) has also proposed that men evolved larger (more costly) brains because they enhance their probability of becoming socially dominant and thus more reproductively successful; female reproductive success is much less dependent on social status.
 
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