Map Reading and Women

This is a fascinating article about a study that shows women's map reading ability improves during their menstrual period. I especially liked the speculation about this phenomenon and ideas about witches.

But I just want to know, what is the author talking about when he says that the study has dispelled the myth about women and road maps? At least as reported, the study never says that women read maps as well as men. It just says that "women did better" when they have more testosterone in their system. I'm guessing that this means that they did better than when they were not menstruating, not better than men.

1 comment:

secretdubai said...

The thing about map reading is that how many people really know how to read a map anyway?

Practice and concentration surely affect ability more than gender.

I know I struggle with spatial things - "rotating things" in my head especially, and in terms of rotating 3D objects don't even go there.

But if you're used to map reading, to recognising symbols and matching map-size to road-distance, and you know to turn it round if that helps you (even if men may laugh) you can perform just as adequately.

The interesting evolutionary question is: why was it necessary for women to be better spatially orientated during their periods?

This makes no sense at all. Surely the evolutionary point of the period is solely reproduction - so any higher testosterone levels are related to that? Thus any spatial advantage is just a fortunate coincidence. I find it difficult to believe that enough lower-testosterone, worse-spatial cave-ladies died during their menstruation for it to affect evolution.