Do men and women really see the world differently?

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People often say that men and women tend to have dramatically different perspectives — but a new study from Brooklyn and Hunter Colleges of the City University of New York literally suggests that this may be the case. Research now shows that men have greater sensitivity to fine detail and rapidly moving objects, while women are better at distinguishing between colors.

PsychCentral explains:

When the volunteers were asked to describe colors shown to them across the visual spectrum, it became obvious that the color vision of men was shifted. Men required a slightly longer wavelength to experience the same hue as the women, according to the researchers.

Males also had a bigger range in the center of the spectrum where they were less able to discriminate between colors.

The researchers then used an image of light and dark bars to measure contrast-sensitivity functions of vision. The bars were either horizontal or vertical and volunteers had to choose which one they saw. In each image, when the light and dark bars were alternated, the image appeared to flicker.

By varying how rapidly the bars alternated or how close together they were, the researchers found that at moderate rates of image change, observers lost sensitivity for close together bars, and gained sensitivity when the bars were farther apart.

However when the image change was faster, both sexes were less able to resolve the images over all bar widths.

The researchers also noted that, overall, the men were better able to resolve more rapidly changing images that were closer together than the women.


You can check out the entire two-part study at the BSD's Biology of Sex Differences here and here.

Image: Shutterstock/Antony McAulay.