MAPPING OUT SPATIAL ABILITY: SEX DIFFERENCES IN WAY-FINDING NAVIGATION1,2

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Abstract

This study examined how navigational strategies, map drawing, and map reading skills may be related in spatial perception performance of 124 U.S. undergraduate men and women who completed one of two versions of Collaer and Nelson's Judgment of Line Angle and Position-15 test and Piaget's Water Level Test. Analysis indicated sex differences in performance were eliminated when self-perceptions of map reading, map drawing, and navigational skills were used as covariates. The men used an orientation (cardinal), whereas the women used a landmark way-finding strategy. Introducing a fine motor skill to solve the Judgment of Line Angle and Position-15 eliminated the sex difference. The data suggest spatial perception is in part influenced by map reading and way-finding strategies.

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