Thursday, 25 October 2007
According to research that will be published in this months Psychological Science researchers at the University of Toronto have discovered that differences between men and women on some tasks that require spatial skills are largely eliminated after both groups play a video game for only a few hours.
The research suggests that a new approach involving action video games can be used to improve spatial skills that are essential for everyday activities such as reading a map, driving a car, assembling flat pack furniture or learning advanced mathematics (which is slightly less difficult than assembling flat pack furniture).
Lead researcher Jing Feng explained “ Our first experiment discovered a previously unknown sex difference in spatial attention. On average, women are not quite as good at rapidly switching attention among different objects and this may be one reason why women do not do as well on spatial tasks. But more important than finding that difference, our second experiment showed that both men and women can improve their spatial skills by playing a video game and that the women catch up to the men,” Feng added. “Moreover, the improved performance of both sexes was maintained when we assessed them again after five months.”
So if we want to be able to dispense with the crude gender stereotypes about parallel parking and which way round the map goes I suggest that we make way for our WAGS and give them some time on the computer / console for them to get some serious hacking and slashing done.
Next time you’re on the B1254972424 and are hoping for some directions you know it will make sense.
Especially as another trained pair of hands will be available when the locals charge at you with pitchforks.