Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Men Like Cars, Women are for the Birds

Men are better at identifying pictures of vehicles they've studied while woman are better at recognizing birds and other objects of the natural world, the results of a visual recognition experiment suggest.

In the study, 227 participants (75 male and 82 female) with a mean age of 23 took a test similar to the Cambridge Face Memory Task, which measures the ability to recognize faces. But instead of faces, this test measured recognition for eight categories of objects: leaves, owls, butterflies, wading birds, mushrooms, cars, planes and motorcycles.

The participants studied a number of images in these categories, and were then shown three pictures at a time. Only one of the three would be a picture they had seen before and they were asked to pick out which one was the one they had studied.

The researchers found that women were much better at recognizing the images of living things they studied while men were better at picking out the vehicles.
I guess that makes me a girly man, since I've never been very adept at identifying cars (nor cared) and I do have a fairly keen eye on the natural world.  However, the study director lets me off the hook:
Vanderbilt University psychologist Isabel Gauthier, who led the study, chalked up these differences to cultural differences. "These results aren’t definitive, but they are consistent with the following story," Gauthier said in a statement. "Everyone is born with a general ability to recognize objects and the capability to get really good at it. Nearly everyone becomes expert at recognizing faces, because of their importance for social interactions. Most people also develop expertise for recognizing other types of objects due to their jobs, hobbies or interests. Our culture influences which categories we become interested in, which explains the differences between men and women."
Besides I wouldn't want to dispute the great Ry Cooder:

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