Can Gender Differences in Mobility explain Gender Differences in Spatial Ability? Findings from the Field and Lab

Nov 08, 2019 12:00pm


Elizabeth Cashdan, Dept. of Anthropology, University of Utah; Sarah Creem-Regehr and Jeanine Stefannucci, Department of Psychology, University of Utah


Sage Center, Psychology 1312


Sex differences in range size and navigation are widely reported, with males traveling farther than females, being less spatially anxious, and, in many studies, navigating more effectively.  The Spatial Cognition and Navigation project is collecting data from the field and the lab to learn (1) why males range farther, and whether it varies across cultures,  and (2) whether gender differences in mobility explain gender differences in spatial ability.  We report on some of our results, with data from four forager-horticultural populations (Hadza, Twe, Tsimane, Shuar) and from college students performing in naturalistic virtual environments. The laboratory work builds on the cross-cultural findings, showing that a consideration of mobility or exploration patterns helps to explain the sex differences that are often seen in spatial navigation tasks.





Research Area

Cognition, Perception, and Cognitive Neuroscience