There have been numerous studies showing the superman like powers we posses by being born male or female. We’ve learned through research (and experience) that females are more verbally fluent, have better manual dexterity and are better at noticing things (like a new haircut). Men, on the other hand, often take less time parking their cars and have less trouble than women navigating a new city, both of which are visuo-spatial abilities. In a new study published in the June 2011 issue of Elsevier’s Cortex it was found that the visuo-spatial strengths demonstrated by men, may also play a role in sound discrimination in noise (cocktail party phenomenon).
The study investigated the audio-spatial abilities in healthy men and women with a sound-localization task. Participants listened to sounds and determined the location of the sound source. The start of the test had sounds presented one at a time and both men and women accomplished the task with great accuracy. Later, several sounds were presented simultaneously and participants had to focus on and localize only one sound, otherwise known as the cocktail party phenomenon – the human capacity to detect and focus on one particular sound source in a noisy environment. Interestingly, women found the second task much more difficult, compared to men, to the extent that in some cases they even thought the sounds were coming from the opposite direction. These results suggest that men are not only better at visuo-spatial tasks, but also in auditory-spatial tasks.