Men’s spatial superiority takes cultural cues

Disputed study puts social forces at root of sex disparity

By Bruce Bower, 14:37 PM August 29, 2011

Culture may hold a spatial place in thought. Social forces profoundly influence people’s ability to think about three-dimensional objects, a new study suggests.

In tests of spatial ability, men traditionally outperform women. But men’s spatial superiority disappears among Northeast India’s Khasi villagers, say economist Moshe Hoffman of the University of California, San Diego and his colleagues. In Khasi society, youngest daughters inherit property, men forward earnings to wives or sisters,...

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