Gender differences are often reported in spatial abilities, most of the times favouring men. Even during wayfinding, which requires planning and decision-making, such as choosing roads to take or shortcuts, men are in general better and faster than women. Although different interpretations have been proposed to explain men’s advantage in navigation, no study has explored the possibility that it could be due to men’s better travel planning ability. This latter has been recently identified as a distinct kind of planning that allows implementing an efficient navigational strategy in accordance with the environmental features. Therefore, the present study was aimed at investigating gender differences in travel planning ability. We compared men and women in performing the Key Search Task that requires to implement a strategy to search for a lost object in a wide imagined space. Results showed that men outperform women in both the overall performance and in some specific indexes of the total score. Men had a better travel planning ability with respect to women, outperforming women in configuring the planned strategy and choosing the best point to enter the imagined field. Therefore, men seem to plan the best navigational strategy and appear more cognitively flexible than women in adapting the strategy at the environmental features. The two genders did not differ in the time spent to solve the task. This finding suggests that differences in travel planning skills can contribute in explaining gender differences in wayfinding and spatial orientation.

Travel planning in men and women. Who is better?

Bocchi A.;Palmiero M.;Piccardi L.
2021

Abstract

Gender differences are often reported in spatial abilities, most of the times favouring men. Even during wayfinding, which requires planning and decision-making, such as choosing roads to take or shortcuts, men are in general better and faster than women. Although different interpretations have been proposed to explain men’s advantage in navigation, no study has explored the possibility that it could be due to men’s better travel planning ability. This latter has been recently identified as a distinct kind of planning that allows implementing an efficient navigational strategy in accordance with the environmental features. Therefore, the present study was aimed at investigating gender differences in travel planning ability. We compared men and women in performing the Key Search Task that requires to implement a strategy to search for a lost object in a wide imagined space. Results showed that men outperform women in both the overall performance and in some specific indexes of the total score. Men had a better travel planning ability with respect to women, outperforming women in configuring the planned strategy and choosing the best point to enter the imagined field. Therefore, men seem to plan the best navigational strategy and appear more cognitively flexible than women in adapting the strategy at the environmental features. The two genders did not differ in the time spent to solve the task. This finding suggests that differences in travel planning skills can contribute in explaining gender differences in wayfinding and spatial orientation.
File in questo prodotto:
File Dimensione Formato  
2021 - Travel planning in men and women - Who is better.pdf

accesso aperto

Descrizione: Articolo
Tipologia: Documento in Versione Editoriale
Licenza: Creative commons
Dimensione 541.48 kB
Formato Adobe PDF
541.48 kB Adobe PDF Visualizza/Apri

I documenti in IRIS sono protetti da copyright e tutti i diritti sono riservati, salvo diversa indicazione.

Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11697/178694
Citazioni
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.pmc??? ND
  • Scopus 5
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.isi??? 4
social impact