Gender Differences in Object-Location Memory with Concern to Evolutionary Theory

Topics: Sex, Gender, Male Pages: 4 (1200 words) Published: September 23, 2005

Gender Differences in Object-Location Memory with Concern to Evolutionary Theory

Spatial cognition is the processing of visual info in terms of their spatial relationships. Spatial visualization, spatial orientation, and object and location memory comprise the three categories of spatial cognition. Female superior spatial ability regarding object-location memory arises from the presumption that during human evolution, women gathered food and men hunted for it. The Female Foraging hypothesis has been proposed specifically in relation to humans and is based on a presumed division of labor between the sexes during human evolution (Jones, C.M, Braithwaite, V.A., & Healy, S.D., 2003) It is proposed that the gathering aspect of foraging requires an accurate recollection of the locations of particular food sources (Silverman & Eals, 1992). Conversely, males tend to do better on tasks of spatial visualization and spatial orientation because hunting requires both of those skills. For example, our ancestral males used way finding in the woods while hunting and therefore have honed their skills in areas of spatial visualization and orientation. Various studies provide that females are better at tasks of object-location memory. In one of the foremost studies of object-location memory, Silverman's and Eals's (1992) study, females proved superior to males in a test of object-location memory. However, in a similar study testing object-location memory, such findings were unable to be replicated (Montello, D. R., Lovelace, K. L., Golledge, R. G., & Self, C. M, 1999). The study did find, however, that females had significantly less error in metric placement of objects. Metric placement can be defined as the measurement of the distances between the objects' recalled locations and their actual locations (Montello et al., 1999). This study closely resembles the procedure used in Silverman's and Eal's...

References: Jones, C.M, Braithwaite, V.A., & Healy, S.D. (2003). The evolution of sex differences in spatial ability. Behavioral Neuroscience, 117, 403-411.
Montello, D. R., Lovelace, K. L., Golledge, R. G., & Self, C. M. (1999) Sex-related differences and similarities in geographic and environmental spatial abilities. Annals of the Association of American Geographers, 80, 515-534.
Silverman, I., & Eals, M. (1992). Sex differences in spatial abilities: Evolutionary theory and data. In J. Barkow, L. Cosmides, & J. Tooby (Eds.), The adapted mind: Evolutionary psychology and the generation of culture (pp. 533-549). Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.
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