31 July 2009

Men better than women at distance vision

Agence France-Presse
Men are better at seeing things in the distance due to their hunter-gatherer past chasing animals, while women are better focussing on things at close range, say researchers.
San tribesman

A San tribesman of South Africa, another one of the few remaining hunter-gatherer cultures in the world.
Credit: Wikimedia

LONDON: Men are better at seeing things in the distance due to their hunter-gatherer past chasing animals, while women are better focussing on things at close range, say researchers.

In findings which reflect how male and female brains have evolved differently over thousands of years, they found that men are better at judging faraway targets.

The results are published in the British Journal of Psychology.

Researchers tested their theory by asking a group of 48 men and women to use a laser pointer to mark the midpoint of lines on a piece of paper at different distances.

Near and far

Men were more accurate than women when the paper was placed at a distance of one metres, while women were more accurate when the target was only 50 cm away, within arm’s reach.

“Evidence already exists that separate pathways in the brain process visual information from near and far space,” said study author Helen Stancey, a psychologist at Hammersmith and West London College.”Our results suggest that the near pathway is favoured in women and the far pathway is favoured in men.”

“These sex differences in visual processing may be a result of our hunter-gatherer evolutionary legacy,” she said. “As the predominant gatherers, women would have needed to work well in near space, whereas the prey for (predominantly male) hunters would have been in far space.”

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