Reference : Les differénces liées au sexe dans les habiletés verbales et visuo-spatiales: Etude d...
Dissertations and theses : Bachelor/master dissertation
Social & behavioral sciences, psychology : Theoretical & cognitive psychology
Les differénces liées au sexe dans les habiletés verbales et visuo-spatiales: Etude des effets de présentation intermodale
[en] Sex differences in verbal and visuo-spatial abilities: study of cross-modality effects
Reuter, Robert mailto [University of Luxembourg > Faculty of Language and Literature, Humanities, Arts and Education (FLSHASE) > Education, Culture, Cognition and Society (ECCS) >]
Université libre de Bruxelles, ​Bruxelles, ​​Belgique
Licence en Sciences Psychologiques
Junça de Morais, José
[en] sex differences ; navigation ; verbal abilities
[en] The present study is based on predictions developed in the field of evolutionary psychology concerning the existence of sex differences in verbal and visuo-spatial abilities, namely in navigational abilities (MARTIN 1998), in mastery of water-level horizontality (ROBERT 1990), geographic knowledge, spatial memory (EALS & SILVERMAN 1994) and verbal fluencies. We investigated the potential influence of verbal processes on the processing of visuo-spatial information. Cross-modality conditions were thus used, which required verbal processing of visuo-spatial inputs at different levels. The significant results obtained all show a male advantage: in spatial navigation, in mastery of water-level horizontality, in geographic knowledge (names of countries), but also in spatial location memory, as well as in a verbal fluencies task (animal condition), although no such advantages were expected here. No female advantage was found, not even for the "female" task. This clearly restricts the conclusions that could be drawn from our study. Overall, the performances in tasks requiring verbal encoding of spatial information are very similar to those in classical (spatial) conditions, or they are not directly linked to language processing. Thus no clear-cut conclusions can be made about the intervention of verbal processes in navigational behaviour or spatial memory. The verbal fluency task on names of countries yielded a male advantage suggesting a male superiority in rapidly accessing information represented - in a visuo-spatial format - in long-term memory. This result clearly contrasts with Halpern et al.’s (1996) process-oriented model of cognitive sex differences. On the other hand, the spatial precision of geographic representations in males are rather low, as is suggested by the results in a task about relative positions of countries of the American continent. It seems that the quality of spatial discourse depends more on the quality of spatial representations than on verbal abilities.

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