The study was led by Alexander Boone, a graduate student at the UC Santa Barbara Hegarty Spatial Thinking Lab. Along with his team, they created two experiments which “used the dual-solution paradigm (DSP) to examine the strategies that people use to navigate to a goal location in a learned environment, sex differences in navigation strategy, how these differences affect navigation efficiency, and how they relate to other measures of large-scale spatial ability.”
In the first test, 68 participants were asked to navigate a computer maze to reach specified locations. They also responded to questions about their sense of direction, the strategies they used and their experience with video games.
In the second experiment, another 72 subjects went through different versions of the maze, with and without “distal landmarks” like trees, to see how the different sexes used the indicators while navigating.
Ultimately, the researchers found that men performed better than women. The study authors write in their conclusion that their findings suggest “the sex difference in navigation efficiency is large, and is partly related to navigation strategy.”
In a press release, study leader Boone reportedly commented, “In both experiments, men were significantly more efficient than women, even after controlling for the effects of strategy.”
Oh, no. The ladies are never going to hear the end of it now that science claims one of the main men vs. women bugaboos is moot. Really, it sounds like GPS is superfluous, and map-reading can be used as a back up for men.
Of course, being in a vehicle with a man who is driving aimlessly tells most women that studies CAN be wrong.
But, it never hurts to ask the question, or for directions for that matter.