Women are better than men at recognizing living things and men are better than women at recognizing vehicles, a new study finds.
Although car commercials tend to dominate advertising for TV shows targeting a male audience and vehicles are often associated with other aspects of male culture, the study results, published in the journal Vision Research, even surprised the psychologist authors.
"Our motivation was to assess the role that expertise plays in object recognition with a new test that includes many different categories, so we weren't looking for this result," Vanderbilt University professor of psychology Isabel Gauthier was quoted as saying in a press release.
"These results aren't definitive, but they are consistent with the following story," she continued. "Everyone is born with a general ability to recognize objects and the capability to get really good at it. Nearly everyone becomes expert at recognizing faces, because of their importance for social interactions. Most people also develop expertise for recognizing other types of objects due to their jobs, hobbies or interests. Our culture influences which categories we become interested in, which explains the differences between men and women."