Men better at watching, hearing

July 1st, 2011 - 1:11 pm ICT by IANS  

London, July 1 (IANS) Men often take less time parking their cars and have less trouble than women in navigating in a new city — showing they excel in what are known as visuo-spatial abilities. Men seem to have a similar advantage in hearing.

Conversely, women may be more verbally fluent, have better manual dexterity and are better at noticing things, like a new hairdo, says a new study.

Ida Zündorf from the Centre of Neurology at Tübingen University, Germany, with Hans-Otto Karnath and Jorg Lewald, investigated the audio-spatial abilities in healthy men and women, reports the journal Elsevier’s Cortex.

Participants were asked to listen to sounds and determine the location of the sound source, either by pointing towards it or by naming the exact position (eg. 45 degrees left), according to a Tübingen University statement.

At first, sounds were presented one at a time and both men and women accomplished the task with great accuracy. Later, several sounds were presented simultaneously and participants had to focus on and localise only one sound.

This is known as the cocktail party phenomenon — the human capacity to detect and focus on one particular sound source in a noisy environment.

Interestingly, women found the second task much more difficult, compared to men, to the extent that in some cases they even thought the sounds were coming from the opposite direction.

These results suggest that men are not only better at visuo-spatial tasks, but also in auditory-spatial tasks.

It has been speculated that men have developed these spatial abilities as the result of natural and sexual selection throughout human evolution.

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