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Sex Differences in the Cognitive Processing of Schematic Versus Landmark-Based Directions
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by Emily Balcetis and Katherine Linder - University of Nebraska at Kearney
An unsubstantiated stereotype suggests that differences exist between men and women in their ability to find their way. Testing the validity of this stereotype, sex differences in processing schematic versus landmark directions were examined. Research indicates that men perform more efficiently on visual and spatial tasks than do women. In this study, 85 students processed either schematic or landmark-based directions while tracing their path on a map. Errors based on the number of wrong turns and final distance from the specified goal were computed. The results indicated that men came closer to the specified goal when provided with schematic-based directions, whereas women performed equally well regardless of direction type.