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Sex matters: Guys recognize cars and women recognize birds best

Posted by on Monday, October 1, 2012 in News.

Women are better than men at recognizing living things and men are better than women at recognizing vehicles.

That is the unanticipated result of an analysis Vanderbilt psychologists performed on data from a series of visual recognition tasks collected in the process of developing a new standard test for expertise in object recognition.

“These results aren’t definitive, but they are consistent with the following story,” said Gauthier. “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.”

The results were published online on Aug. 3 in the Vision Research journal in an article titled, “The Vanderbilt Expertise Test Reveals Domain-General and Domain-Specific Sex Effects in Object Recognition.”

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