Two People, Two Paths
You must be familiar with the situation: Dad's driving; Mum's telling him where to go. He's sure that they need to turn left. But she says it's not for another two blocks. Who has the better sense of direction? Men or women.
They both do, a new study says, but in different ways.
Men and women, Canadian researchers have found, have different methods of finding their way. Men look quickly at landmarks (地标) and head off in what they think is the right direction. Women, however, try to picture the whole route in detail and then follow the path in their head.
'Women tend to be more detailed," said Edward Cornell, who led the study, "while
men tend to be a little bit faster and...a little bit more intuitive (直觉感知的)."
In fact, said Cornell, "sense of direction" isn't one skill but two.
The first is the "survey method". This is when you see an area from above, such as a printed map. You can see, for example, where the hospital is, where the church is and that the supermarket is on its right.
The second skill is the "route method". This is when you use a series of directions. You start from the hospital, then turn left, turn right, go uphill -- and then you see the supermarket.
Men are more likely to use the survey method while women are more likely to use one route and follow directions.
Both work, and neither is better.
Some scientists insist that these different skills have a long history. They argue it is because of the difference in traditional roles.
In ancient times, young men often went far away with the older men to fish or hunt. The trip took hours or days and covered unfamiliar places. The only way to know where you were was to use the survey method to remember landmarks -- the mountains, the lakes and so on.
The women, on the other hand, took young girls out to find fruits and plants. These activities were much closer to home but required learning well-used paths. So, women's sense of space was based on learning certain routes.
1 When finding his way, Dad tends to rely on
A his intuitive knowledge
B his book knowledge
C Mum's assistance
D the police's assistance
2 Women are more likely to use
A the survey method
B the traditional method
C the route method
D the right method
3 Which works better, the route method or the survey method?
A The survey method
B The mute method
4 Which of the following is NOT a landmark?
A A long river
B A high mountain
C. A magnificent church
D A path in your head
5 Women developed a sense of space out of the need
A to go fishing
B Togo hunting
C to learn well-used paths
D to go swimming