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(   Why women can't read maps   ( divider line
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46091 clicks; posted to Main » on 24 Jan 2005 at 12:43 AM (13 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»

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2005-01-24 02:34:47 AM  

I can accept that. But then I would be more inclined to test the nurture aspect... perhaps nurture influences certain connections in the brain to be made during development, ie social statutes beget physiology.
2005-01-24 02:35:05 AM  
stefanie: i think in the future there should be only one sex, so everyone can stop whining about gender differences. mmmm transvestites.

Are you sure you don't mean hermaphrodites?

</read too many Vorkosigan books>
2005-01-24 02:41:42 AM  
Don't say that up at Harvard or they'll run you out on a rail.
2005-01-24 02:41:44 AM  

i highly doubt that if you sent out a memo to all the women in the world saying "sorry ladies, but you're all terrible drivers and map readers," that they would be like "oh he's right, i should learn how to do those things better." personally, i am (unhappy) to agree that most females are actually terrible at the driving and map-reading thing. i just disapprove of generalizations of any kind. you know? sorry.

How do I reply to a post that fails to recognize logic? You are comparing apples to oranges (you are incorrectly attempting to parallel two things). You personally exhibited a telltale sign of a trait I would consider a flaw. Yes, there is a chance you do not have this trait (or that you do, but don't see it as a flaw), but if you cannot produce an alternative reason for your post, I have no reason to believe that is the case. If I personally witnessed a person of EITHER gender reading a map incorrectly or driving poorly, I would let him know. If he refused to change simply because I was direct, that is an even greater flaw (and I don't think most people are this bull-headed).

As for generalizing, this can be very helpful in life. It is unrealistic to not do so in most fields. Diagnosing problems from symptoms is one example (what I was doing). Would you refuse to be tested for a disease if a doctor said you had many symptoms, simply because he had to generalize that all people with said symptoms might have the disease and should be tested (even if only 75% actually have the disease)? Generalizing helps effectively narrow the entire population into high/low risk groups, etc. The only problem is when people fail to understand that it is a generalization and not a rule. There is no reason to be offended if you are an exception to one. I understand why this happens (as it happens in me, as in everyone), and yes, it is concerning knowing other people will think that a generalization must be true for you, even though it isn't. All I can say to that is that these aren't the kind of people you should be concerned over, so don't fret over what they think.

/I'm getting tired, but I think you get my point.
2005-01-24 02:43:49 AM  
cause she's a woman that's why.

/simplest answer is usually the most accurate
2005-01-24 02:44:42 AM  
I like looking at maps. It gives me something to do while my girlfriend is talking.
2005-01-24 02:45:08 AM  
Thppt. I'm a woman and I have no problem with this. Everybody gets irritated when I start giving directions which contain North, East, South, or West in them. They get even more confused when I tell them "Well, such and such mountain is North, you know which mountain I'm talking about right?" Well, hardly anyone knows which one is which. I also can read maps quite well.

My main problem is up or down once I'm under water. I once swam to the bottom of the pool.
2005-01-24 02:45:25 AM  
There are exceptions to every generalization; but perhaps because it is so hard to find the exceptions, then that proves the rule?

Here is one exception:-
Anne Hall - British rally driver, one of the best women rally drivers in Europe in the 1950s and 1960s who continued to race until age 78.
According to her UK obituary in 2000, "A Huddersfield housewife and mother of three, she began her career in 1950 partnering her sister, Mary Newton, in a Jaguar XK 120. The "mad Newton sisters", as they became known, upset traditional stereotypes of women drivers by being both extremely fast and highly skilled. .... "Over some 15 years, Anne Hall took part in all the major long-distance rallies, including the Monte Carlo Rally, the gruelling East African Safari, the Alpine Motor Rally, the RAC International Rally and the Cross-Canada Rally. She won several trophies, including the coveted Coupe des Dames at Monte Carlo in 1961; her co-driver on that occasion was Val Domleo....
"She was lured back to rallying in 1988 when, aged 72, she won the women's section in the Pirelli Classic Rally, a 2,300-mile round trip in the Alps, driving a 1961 Ford Anglia. Overall, she came 18th out of 104 finishers. She went on to compete in several more classic rally events., eventually retiring in 1997."
[image from too old to be available]
No helmets, no seatbelts.
[image from too old to be available]
2005-01-24 02:47:32 AM  
Well OK...that's if I had a girlfriend.
2005-01-24 02:48:34 AM  
Wow, males and females are different. Who knew?
2005-01-24 02:50:03 AM  

Well said.

But it still sucks being declined jobs/positions and other important aspects of life because some asshole buys too much into the generalization.

Not trying to make any point, just sayin' that I wish we weren't burdened with that sort of crap (applicable to race, gender, etc.,). Oh well, wish in one hand...
2005-01-24 02:57:34 AM  
Apparently men and women also navigate differently when they're not using maps. Men tend to go for addresses, street names, and cardinal directions, while women tend to go more for landmarks and left-or-right directions. Not that this holds up all the time, just an observation.
2005-01-24 03:02:17 AM  
I like how the women in this thread get pissed off about being told they can't read maps as well as men overall, and the men just accept the fact that we have weak verbal skills.

me no speak good.
2005-01-24 03:08:35 AM  

I can accept that. But then I would be more inclined to test the nurture aspect... perhaps nurture influences certain connections in the brain to be made during development, ie social statutes beget physiology."

As with most things involving intelligence and personality, there is a biological and a environmental component. In most things the split is somewhere around 50/50.

So genetics and environment both play a factor in this. Women and men develop differently and are raised differently. Men and women are different, and there is no value judgement in that. Men aren't better than women, and women aren't better than men. They have different strengths and weaknesses.
2005-01-24 03:08:47 AM  
stefanie and everyone complaining about making generalizations or being an exception

This is a first run study testing a hypothesis for a specific biological difference between men and women that they believe has a general affect on abilities. Exceptions to the rule are very important and will be used in future studies and hopefully then to apply this study to allow us to overcome the biological differences.

There is a chance that all the exceptions like yourselves are due to biological differences between you and the females they tested. If this is the case, future studies (assuming this study is accepted as accurate) will try to determine why you are able to use so much more grey matter than the average woman, and how we can biologically change other women to do the same, if we wish to improve their "skills such as mathematics, map-reading and intellectual thought."

On the other hand, I think it is more likely that the 'exceptions to the rule' like yourselves simply have overcome the biological difference (as do men who are very good at language skills and multi-tasking). This would suggest you found a way to effectively read a map using mostly white brain matter. If this is the case, we would want to study exactly how women who are good at these tasks learn to do them, and apply that to teach future generations of females in these tasks. We could not do this is we never made the initial generalization that many women do not read maps as well as many women.

/does that help?
2005-01-24 03:10:24 AM  
men can read maps, women can love them.
and i quote:

"Wait, they don't love you like i love you
Wait, they don't love you like i love you
Ma-a-a-a-ps, wait!
They don't love you like i love you..."
-the yeah yeah yeahs
2005-01-24 03:11:25 AM  
Women & directions in general:

Women tend to handle directions via recognizable landmarks. Men tend to handle directions using geospatial relationships.

(I bought a cool book on cartography, maps and just generally the way the mind maps out places as you go to them a while back... wish I could remember what it was called. It's mostly biographical).

Women not being able to read maps:
Balderdash. My mum had an almost supernatural ability to map read - even being able to pretty much nail how badly trails would be covered in undergrowth and how good the view would be from places - and she's never even BEEN to that place before. That's skill.

As for men having weak verbal skills... pah as well. I used to make a living as a freelance journalist. I rest my case.
2005-01-24 03:24:45 AM  
In my Statistics class, prof said that the minimum sample size needed to extrapolate to a larger population was... get this... 31. Why it was 31, he never explained (he didn't like questions).

Regardless, with a truely random sampling, you can extrapolate a normal curve, which basically means that a large percentage (70% or so) fall within the results of the sampling. Half the remaining are above average (i.e. woman who has no problem with a map or a guy who speaks 20,000 words a day), and the remaining are below average (i.e. a guy who gets lost using a map to get from Minneapolis to St Paul or a gal who only grunts several times a day).
2005-01-24 03:44:54 AM  

I think your prof is full of shiat. There is no absolute number that you can extrapolate to any larger population 100% of the time for any statistical model. I'm sure there is some problem where a sample size of 31 out of a population of 1000 will give you a 95% confidence interval of a certain range of variance from the estimated mean. Even in that example, a sample size of 32 will give you better results (a higher confidence or a smaller range), and a sample size of 30 will give you only slightly worse results. Without knowing any more than what you said, I would imagine that either you left out some details, or your professor shouldn't be teaching the subject.

/then again, I may be wrong
//if I am, I must have slept through the dozen or so stats classes I've taken
2005-01-24 03:50:35 AM  
We do not follow maps to buried treasure and X never, ever marks the spot.

[image from too old to be available]
2005-01-24 04:37:45 AM  
Women sure can't read blueprints, either.
2005-01-24 04:40:28 AM  
I have a friend who doesn't leave our city in her car without making sure to invite me along, due to the fact that I can navigate her very easily. It's so bad, she'll forget whether to take a left or a right after 180ing in a dead end trying to figure out how to get back to where she came from. I am dead serious.
2005-01-24 04:53:45 AM  
I think the html code doesnt conform to standards. I am using firefox on some unspecified OS and I get an orange advertisement that flashes weird. Anyone else seeing this? Im lazy and really dont care, so please dont tell me about plugins to block flash
2005-01-24 05:01:18 AM  
oh ya, women get angry on the thread about not being able to read maps because they still think they can do EVERYTHING equally or better than men. No way they can ever accept that some people can do some things better. Women in general are better at multi-tasking, whereas men complete 1 task, and move onto the next. Studies have proven these differences in the sexes. Equality usually means discrimination against 1 party. So the women rise up and biatch. Good thing you have vraginas, or else we wouldn't give a fk.
2005-01-24 05:20:02 AM  
macker - Since when were you ever interested in vaginas? I thought you were only after plump, juicy pumpkins and other members of the squash and melon persuasion.
2005-01-24 05:23:07 AM  
Oh, and I do admit men generally are better at being farting maniacs than women. I'm suprised they don't fly away with all the hot air emanating from their posteriors.
2005-01-24 05:24:26 AM  
We have a difficult time with judging distance--men keep trying to tell us that is six inches.
2005-01-24 05:31:25 AM  
Women often infuriate me with their lack of spatial awareness. Like when they are walking in front of you then suddenly stop dead to gawp at something nearly causing you to pile into them, or standing around yakking and sort of drifting slowly about and taking up most of the available space. As for driving, don't even get me started.
2005-01-24 05:46:24 AM  
The reason that so many people on Fark buck the trend is because they're freaks who habitally discuss things on the internet. Your all weirdos. This study does not effect you.
2005-01-24 05:55:55 AM  
Yeah, the bit about the number of words per day is referring to vocabulary, not time spent talking. As in men use 7000-10,000 different words in a day, while women use 20,000-25,000 different words in a day.

Yeah, but about 15,000 of those are different forms of "BLAH". Blah. Blahdy bladum bla blah? Blaaduum bluh bluh blah!

Just kidding.

But really though, why are there separate leagues for games which require no physical advantage like chess or pool?
2005-01-24 06:22:42 AM  
Women can read map fine if they actually care about reading map. The women you stated is probably the cheerleader airhead type.
2005-01-24 06:41:17 AM  
There have been studies before this one on how people code information about their environment into their memories. Some of these studies hypothesize that cognitive mapping (i.e. the process of coding, storing, calling and decoding the location and attributes of environmental components) begins with unorganized form, developing into landmark clusters, and ultimately coordinated organization. Or on other words cognitive mapping begins with landmark elements, then progress to the level of routes, and finally to general configured structure i.e. survey level knowledge, which some deem to be the highest level of environmental knowledge

Another way to look into this to say that people follow either a visually dominated or a spatially dominated strategy to solve a route-learning/finding problems.

The studies on the subject of cognitive mapping do show that there are statistical differences between the way-finding strategies men and women prefer to use. According to these studies women tend to use more landmark based route strategies and men survey strategies.

I personally dont think that one strategy is better than another as long as you can provide good enough information to suit the recipients preferred strategy (or both strategies).
So if giving directions to persons using route strategy, try to describe the environment by referring to relative directions (right-left), landmarks, and boundaries between areas (fences, etc.). And when giving directions to persons using survey strategy, try to describe the environment using absolute directions (north, west, etc.) and few landmarks that can be used as reference points.
2005-01-24 06:45:04 AM  
I would pick the verbal skills over the map reading skills. Overall they're much more useful in today's world.
2005-01-24 06:48:54 AM  
2005-01-24 12:15:20 AM Hugh G. Rection [TotalFark]

I never noticed the map thing, but I did notice that not a single woman has been able to understand the concept of North, South, East, or West.

I'll say "You want to head East on ______ until you get to this intersection, then head South until you reach ______", and every time they get pissed. Directions like that are way more reliable than the "make a right/left" kind (because it works from whatever direction your heading from), but they just don't seem to get it.

Hahaha... One time back in my cable guy days, I had a job on a street that wasn't in my slightly outdated mapbook. So, as was policy, I called in on the ol' radio to ask where the street was. I told her what street I was on. No intersection, just the road. She told me to go down that road till I hit another and take a left. Knowing she didn't know which direction I would be coming from, I asked her if left meant north or south. She said she didnt know. As part of her job duty, she was giving me directions... not knowing north from south... looking at a farking map.
2005-01-24 07:34:59 AM  
Who cares if they can't read a map as long as they can read a cookbook.
2005-01-24 08:08:24 AM  
Hugh G. Rection:

I never noticed the map thing, but I did notice that not a single woman has been able to understand the concept of North, South, East, or West.

That must mean you've never met a farkette. I get turned around with the left/right thing--start thinking, wait a minute, which direction were they coming from? I'd much rather give/receive directions NSEW. But I'm often told that I give directions like a man (I take it as a complement).
2005-01-24 08:27:33 AM  
This research is a bunch of crap, unless they were seriously trying to dumb down results for the general population. Gray matter consists of neuron soma, the only parts of neurons that can actually initiate and process electrical signals. White matter consists of myelinated axa and dendrites which protrude from soma and merely serve to conduct electrical impulses. Our thinking doesn't originate in one area or the other; it always comes from gray matter.
2005-01-24 08:30:23 AM  
BeerNut: Who cares if they can't read a map as long as they can read a cookbook.

that's what I'm talk'n about!

[image from too old to be available]

2005-01-24 08:37:35 AM  
As with most things involving intelligence and personality, there is a biological and a environmental component. In most things the split is somewhere around 50/50.

You can't say that it is 50/50. It is in peoples nature to seek out certain social contitioning which reinforces their masculinity/femininity/whatever. Is this nature or is it nurture. It is clearly both.


In my Statistics class, prof said that the minimum sample size needed to extrapolate to a larger population was... get this... 31. Why it was 31, he never explained (he didn't like questions).

I would not say 31, but number of samples required for a signifiganly low error in a study does not scale with the total number of things in the system that you are looking at. As the the number of things in the system becomes very large (even for billions of people) the number of samples required to produce statistically reliable result will remain quite manageable. That is the point that you should take away, and not 31.
2005-01-24 08:54:47 AM  
Because after 31 the stats for large "quantities" of people are not that much different. i.e. 35 won't change much, 40 won't change much, 100, 1000 etc.
2005-01-24 08:56:58 AM  
this is why there are more men musicians/writers.

music == math
2005-01-24 09:05:43 AM  
Well the error rapidly shrinks at first, but less rapidly as the number of samples increases. Eventually the benifit of decreased error becomes less than the cost of measuring another sample.

Say it takes a fortnight for one person to study each person and anylise the results. The total cost of anylising another person could be $10-20k. The increase in accuracy caused by adding an extra person might not be worth the cost.
2005-01-24 09:07:05 AM  
what is this the 18th century, "women have softer brains and therefore are more suitable for the eemotional aspects of life and are not suited for deep meditation and abstract thought." sounds like some dumbass thing Rousseau would say. If you think that men or women can be pegged into one hole or another you are limiting not only those people but the progress of the human race in genereal.

also- if it were true that men were better at math than women, then boys in public schools must have no skills whtasoever if the girls are pulling ahead of them there to. haha
2005-01-24 09:10:11 AM  
Researchers then created a map of a brain showing the varying levels of activity in the brains of men and women. About 40 per cent of the human brain is grey matter and 60 per cent white matter.

Very nice, look dear here's a map that will show you why you can't read maps.
2005-01-24 09:16:24 AM  
I can not only read a map, I make maps and have a degree in Geography.

/GIS Analyst
2005-01-24 09:17:43 AM  
Yeah, the bit about the number of words per day is referring to vocabulary, not time spent talking. As in men use 7000-10,000 different words in a day, while women use 20,000-25,000 different words in a day.

A white matter, knee-jerk, emotional response, if ever there was one.

2005-01-24 09:24:38 AM  
Aw comon people, we all know women can't read the map because they're too busy nagging their husband/boyfriend/male friend/whoever is doing the driving

/Has a girlfriend
//Dumped her for being too biatchy
2005-01-24 09:25:28 AM  
So I guess the President of Harvard who's being lambasted by the liberal media and the PC queens was exactly correct?
2005-01-24 09:27:32 AM  
/despises being belittled

I've found most women despise being bebiggled. Under no circumstances can you say that a dress makes them fat.

/Nothing to contribute, but haven't used my quota of words yet.
2005-01-24 09:28:29 AM  
I remember when I had to help my friend's mom navigate through Albany once.
We were done spending a day at the State Museum when we were trying to get back home.
Well, my friend's mom couldn't find the way to get back to I-787.
So I had to navigate her through the streets of Albany to get her to an onramp for I-787.
BTW, I was about eight years old when this happened.
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