Reason Behind Sex Differences in Visual Processing Unveiled

by VR Sreeraman on August 3, 2009 at 4:47 PM
 Reason Behind Sex Differences in Visual Processing Unveiled

If your hubby blames you for missing the bigger picture, then you might want to tell him this: Men are better at seeing things in the distance due to their hunter-gatherer past chasing animals, while women are better focusing on things at close range.

That's the conclusion of a British study.

The researchers believe the results reflect how men's and women's brains have evolved differently over time, reports ABC Online.

The study appears online in the British Journal of Psychology.

To reach the conclusion, boffins tested their theory by questioning a group of 48 men and women to use a laser pointer to mark the midpoint of lines on a piece of paper at different distances.

Analyses revealed that men were more accurate than women when the paper was placed at a distance of 100 centimetres. Women were more accurate when the target was only 50 centimetres away, within arm's reach.

In a second test participants used a stick, instead of the laser pointer, to mark the midpoint. The results showed no significant difference between near and far, however women performed better than when using the laser pointer.

"Evidence already exists that separate pathways in the brain process visual information from near and far space," says psychologist Helen Stancey from Hammersmith and West London College.

"Our results suggest that the near pathway is favoured in women and the far pathway is favoured in men," she says.

"These sex differences in visual processing may be a result of our hunter-gatherer evolutionary legacy. As the predominant gatherers, women would have needed to work well in near space, whereas the prey for (predominantly male) hunters would have been in far space," she adds.

Source: ANI
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