The coding of space as near and far is not only determined by arm-reaching distance, but is also dependent on how the brain represents the extension of the body space. Recent reports suggest that the dissociation between reaching and navigational space is not limited to perception and action but also involves memory systems. It has been reported that gender diff erences emerged only in adverse learning conditions that required strong spatial ability. METHODS: In this study we investigated navigational versus reaching memory in air force pilots and a control group without fl ight experience. We took into account temporal duration (working memory and long-term memory) and focused on working memory, which is considered critical in the gender diff erences literature. RESULTS: We found no gender eff ects or fl ight hour eff ects in pilots but observed gender eff ects in working memory (but not in learning and delayed recall) in the nonpilot population (Women ’ s mean 5 5.33; SD 5 0.90; Men ’ s mean 5 5.54; SD 5 0.90). We also observed a diff erence between pilots and nonpilots in the maintenance of on-line reaching information: pilots (mean 5 5.85; SD 5 0.76) were more effi cient than nonpilots (mean 5 5.21; SD 5 0.83) and managed this type of information similarly to that concerning navigational space. In the navigational learning phase they also showed better navigational memory (mean 5 137.83; SD 5 5.81) than nonpilots (mean 5 126.96; SD 5 15.81) and were signifi cantly more profi cient than the latter group. DISCUSSION: There is no gender diff erence in a population of pilots in terms of navigational abilities, while it emerges in a control group without fl ight experience. We found also that pilots performed better than nonpilots. This study suggests that once selected, male and female pilots do not diff er from each other in visuo-spatial abilities and spatial navigation.

Gender Diff erences in Navigational Memory: Pilots vs. Nonpilots

PICCARDI, LAURA;
2015

Abstract

The coding of space as near and far is not only determined by arm-reaching distance, but is also dependent on how the brain represents the extension of the body space. Recent reports suggest that the dissociation between reaching and navigational space is not limited to perception and action but also involves memory systems. It has been reported that gender diff erences emerged only in adverse learning conditions that required strong spatial ability. METHODS: In this study we investigated navigational versus reaching memory in air force pilots and a control group without fl ight experience. We took into account temporal duration (working memory and long-term memory) and focused on working memory, which is considered critical in the gender diff erences literature. RESULTS: We found no gender eff ects or fl ight hour eff ects in pilots but observed gender eff ects in working memory (but not in learning and delayed recall) in the nonpilot population (Women ’ s mean 5 5.33; SD 5 0.90; Men ’ s mean 5 5.54; SD 5 0.90). We also observed a diff erence between pilots and nonpilots in the maintenance of on-line reaching information: pilots (mean 5 5.85; SD 5 0.76) were more effi cient than nonpilots (mean 5 5.21; SD 5 0.83) and managed this type of information similarly to that concerning navigational space. In the navigational learning phase they also showed better navigational memory (mean 5 137.83; SD 5 5.81) than nonpilots (mean 5 126.96; SD 5 15.81) and were signifi cantly more profi cient than the latter group. DISCUSSION: There is no gender diff erence in a population of pilots in terms of navigational abilities, while it emerges in a control group without fl ight experience. We found also that pilots performed better than nonpilots. This study suggests that once selected, male and female pilots do not diff er from each other in visuo-spatial abilities and spatial navigation.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11697/9905
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