Men, Women and Maps

For the next couple of days I am going to talk about the difference between men and women. The differences in our brains that is. The way in which the genders view and perceive things are very different which can often lead to great discourse when we don't understand the differences.

Let's start with map reading. Often the start of many arguments when couples of different genders are driving together. It's all related to our spatial ability. Spatial ability is being able to picture in your mind the shape and size of something and to rotate the object and view it from three dimensions.

Brain scans show us that spatial ability in men is mostly on the right side of the brain. It is one of male's strongest abilities. (We do have a few I am told). Like most things that are intuitive, a man's ability to read maps the right way up stems from evolution. When hunting, men had to calculate speed, distance, and movement of their prey. Most men can always point to north no matter where in the world they are, they had to find their way home after hunting.

Unlike men, the spatial ability in women is located in both brain hemispheres. Women didn't need to be as specific about dimensions as men did. Women navigate from images, what they see along the way. Most maps these days will have upright images to provide women with a three dimensional view. That is also why GPS systems have both a 2D & 3D image, the first for men and the second for women.

If a woman is reading a map, she will often turn it around so that she is viewing the map in the direction of travel. Men don't like handing over the navigation to women so the man will tell her to leave the map facing north because he is looking over her shoulder while driving. When she doesn't do so he becomes annoyed.

What is often the failing of men is when they get lost. It is not in our psyche to comprehend that we are lost and when we do we are not going to ask for directions. Doing so would reveal a flaw in our ability to protect our family and men don't have any of those. Women will always ask for help when lost. So the woman will say to the man "Why don't you stop and ask someone." He says "NO" and she becomes annoyed.

The moral of the story - man should let woman turn the map in whichever direction she wants to if he has asked her to navigate. Man should also stop and ask for directions as soon as they are lost. A woman likes a man to take charge but not when they are supposed to be working together.