Alright ladies and gentleman, buckle up for this wild ride. Before I go on, I just want to apologize to any relationships that crumble due to this news. A recent study came out that came to the conclusion that women and men have different navigation strategies. Honestly I didn’t need science to tell me that one!
According to a study published in the Springer Journal: Memory & Cognition, men navigate more efficiently than their female counterparts. Basically, men use shortcuts when navigating and women like to take routes that they know.
Alexander Boone of UC Santa Barbara headed the study and I hope that he isn’t on anyone’s hit list just yet.
Boone and his team conducted two experiments which had students perform tasks on a computer. In the first one, they had 68 participants and they were asked to familiarize themselves with a layout of a maze. Basically they had to find their way through the maze by remembering landmarks to get to their destination.
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Then the second experiment involved 72 participants who did the same thing as the first test, except they had different versions of the maze. One version had the landmarks in the background and one didn’t. The reasoning here was to understand whether men or women use these landmarks differently when navigating.
The research team also asked all participants to complete a survey involved finding out info such as their sense of direction, the strategies they believe they use to find their way, and whether they often play video games.
Boone explained that:
“As predicted from previous research, these experiments showed that men were more likely to take shortcuts and on average reached their goal location faster than women. In contrast, female participants were more likely to follow learned routes and wander. In both experiments, men were significantly more efficient than women, even after controlling for the effects of strategy.”
The study also concluded that men were better at this task because they got to their destination much quicker. The authors of the study also covered their bases by noting that, “it is important to point out that these are differences in average performance between men and women, and some women were just as efficient as the best male performers.”
“It is also possible that the sex difference in efficiency is due in part to facility with the interface or navigation in virtual environments, as men tend to spend more time playing video games. Overall, our research indicates that the sex difference in navigation efficiency is large, and is partly related to navigation strategy.”
So next time you and your significant other are driving, test this theory out but maybe don’t tell them you are at first. You might be sleeping on the couch if you do…