The present study has two-fold aims: to investigate whether gender differences persist even when more time is given to acquire spatial information; to assess the gender effect when the retrieval phase requires recalling the pathway from the same or a different reference perspective (egocentric or allocentric). Specifically, we analyse the performance of men and women while learning a path from a map or by observing an experimenter in a real environment. We then asked them to reproduce the learned path using the same reference system (map learning vs. map retrieval or real environment learning vs. real environment retrieval) or using a different reference system (map learning vs. real environment retrieval or vice versa). The results showed that gender differences were not present in the retrieval phase when women have the necessary time to acquire spatial information. Moreover, using the egocentric coordinates (both in the learning and retrieval phase) proved easier than the other conditions, whereas learning through allocentric coordinates and then retrieving the environmental information using egocentric coordinates proved to be the most difficult. Results showed that by manipulating familiarity, gender differences disappear, or are attenuated in all conditions.
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