Friday, July 22, 2011

Do Girls Have Weaker Spatial Thinking as Compared to Boys?

Many people are putting questioning signs that do men have better spatial thinking as compared to girls or it is just an out-dated stereotype? The common scientific belief is that men are somewhat better at visual & spatial tests while women are somewhat better at linguistic tests. Girls are auditory thinkers but can they also think spatially? What do you think about this questioning signs? Many studies are carried out to research it and each of them has shown different results.

Spatial thinking is a mental organization which affects the person’s way to view the world. This cognitive skill (spatial thinking) is used in aptitude tests and puzzles which ask how a two-dimensional Tetris-like object drawing will look if revolved or how a flat object will look if folded along dotted lines. This is essential particularly for geometry and calculus as well as for mathematical applications such as computer imaging. 90% engineers in U.S. are male, as per Pennsylvania State University.

As per Child Development Theorist Linda Kreger Silverman research, visual/spatial thinking is strongly used by less than 30% of population, both visual/spatial thinking & thinking in the form of words is used by 45% population and 25% population thinks totally in words. According to Neuroscience research which includes MRI studies of male and female brains, brain function with associated hormonal differences makes a tendency for males to have improved spatial thinking skills and females to be stronger in some areas of verbal expression.

In 2008, Liben and colleagues carried out a study which suggests that as little as 3 months old babies show gender differences in spatial thinking. The study involved 12 boys and 12 girls where researchers showed them babies images of the number 1 at different angles and then every baby was simultaneously shown 2 new images: the number 1 at an angle they had not seen before and a mirror image of the number 1. The study found that 11 out of 12 boys and 5 out of 12 girls stared the mirror image longer as they understood that the mirror image didn’t belong in the series.

In one study, math test were given to Asian women. The study includes the groups of Asian women in which each group had to read an essay before writing the test. The researchers found, women performed poorly who read an essay that their gender still had not done well in the test while women performed well who read an essay that their gender played no part in math ability. Many studies have shown that performance of females in mathematics tests differs with what you say about them and mathematics before test.

As per study performed by Professor Janet Hyde and colleagues, there was little or no difference in maths performance between girls and boys. To note if the boys are still performing well compared to girls, they used data from about 7 million children from grade 2 to 11 in 10 US states. They also found that in some state, girls performed better than boys.

A recent study confirms that males and females have equal math skills. The study made analysis of 242 studies published between 1990 and 2007 that assessed the math skills of around 1.3 million people from grade school to college and beyond. Findings of several large, long-term scientific studies are also examined by the researchers. The study found meaningless difference between males and females in math skills.

Families and schools must know that spatial thinking is a skill which is as essential as reading. If you want that your children (boy and girl) should have equal spatial thinking then you must begin with puzzles, blocks, building toys and shape-sorting toys. All these things promote spatial thinking.

Video of Girls vs Boys at Math from youtube:


Post a Comment

Twitter Delicious Facebook Digg Stumbleupon Favorites More