Yet more research about how men and women see the world in different shades of gender conditioning suggest that men are better at identifying cars and women are better at identifying creatures in the natural world, like birds, because every man is an oil-splattered monkey wrench and every woman is a fairy princess capable of communing with woodland creatures. A quick rule of thumb would go something like this: men like vrroom-vrrooms and women like tweet-tweets. It's science.
This latest study about gender vision clippity-clops on the heels of a study earlier this summer from the University of California, which found that women are quick to pick up on the non-verbal cues of a speaker because, unlike men, they're not being constantly distracted by shiny objects in their periphery. In order to figure out that men and women have even more drastically different eyeballs, researchers led by Vanderbilt University psychologist Isabel Gauthier gave 227 participants (75 male and 82 female) a test that measured recognition for eight categories of objects: leaves, owls, butterflies, wading birds, mushrooms, cars, planes and motorcycles. Participants studied a bouquet of images from each category, and were then shown three images at a time (only one of which they'd actually seen before) as researchers grilled them about which image they'd seen before.
Women were much more adept at identifying images of living things, while men were better at picking out vehicles. This discrepancy, explained Gauthier, has more to do with cultural conditioning than any inherent difference between the sexes:
These results aren't definitive, but they are consistent with the following story. 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.
So, because, for example, because toy companies market toy trucks and plastic laser cannons to boys, while saving grinning infant dolls for girls, men are expected to become road warriors capable of changing tires in ten seconds flat and women are expected to be able to commission extended families of blue jays to make their wedding gowns.
Men Spot Cars, Women Go For Birds [LiveScience]
Image via MJTH/Shutterstock.