Men better at distance vision due to hunter-gatherer past: study

Jul 30, 2009
A man looks out at sea. Men are better at seeing things in the distance due to their hunter-gatherer past chasing animals, while women are better focusing on things at close range, a British study said Thursday.

Men are better at seeing things in the distance due to their hunter-gatherer past chasing animals, while women are better focusing on things at close range, a British study said Thursday.

In findings which reflect how men's and women's brains have evolved differently over thousands of years, they found that men are better at judging faraway targets.

Researchers tested their theory by asking a group of 48 men and women to use a laser pointer to mark the midpoint of lines on a piece of paper at different distances.

Men were more accurate than women when the paper was placed at a distance of 100 centimetres, while women were more accurate when the target was only 50 cms away, within arm's reach.

"Evidence already exists that separate pathways in the brain process from near and far space," said psychologist Helen Stancey from Hammersmith and West London College.

"Our results suggest that the near pathway is favoured in women and the far pathway is favoured in men," she said, in a study published online in the British Journal of Psychology.

And she said: "These in visual processing may be a result of our hunter-gatherer evolutionary legacy.

"As the predominant gatherers, women would have needed to work well in near space, whereas the for (predominantly male) hunters would have been in far space."

(c) 2009 AFP

Explore further: Research on guilt-prone individuals has implications for workplace

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Men's IQs higher, but used differently

Aug 25, 2005

Controversial British psychologist Richard Lynn has determined men have bigger brains and higher IQs than women, the Daily Mail reported Thursday.

When It Comes to Brains, Size Matters

Jun 20, 2008

Findings of a three-year study by researchers at the University of California, Riverside and the University of Florida, Gainesville run counter to the popular belief that women have better language skills than men.

Visuospatial, verbal brain role studied

Jul 18, 2006

U.S. scientists say they've confirmed the theory men and women use different parts of their brains processing language and visuospatial information.

Recommended for you

Mindfulness helps teens cope with stress, anxiety

7 hours ago

As the morning school bell rings and students rush through crowded corridors, teenagers in one Portland classroom settle onto mats and meditation pillows. They fall silent after the teacher taps a Tibetan ...

Study links suicide risk with insomnia, alcohol use

9 hours ago

A new study is the first to show that insomnia symptoms mediate the relationship between alcohol use and suicide risk, and that this mediation is moderated by gender. The study suggests that the targeted ...

Echolocation acts as substitute sense for blind people

15 hours ago

Recent research carried out by scientists at Heriot-Watt University has demonstrated that human echolocation operates as a viable 'sense', working in tandem with other senses to deliver information to people with visual impairment.

User comments : 12

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

ArtflDgr
3 / 5 (2) Jul 30, 2009
[sarcasm]You mean that men have talents and qualities that women lack and that they are not the same? fancy that... different things are not the same[/sarcasm]
RayCherry
5 / 5 (1) Jul 30, 2009
Do you think that myopia might be the underlying cause of female partnership loyalty, and why men form men only clubs so that their women do not get to see other men at close range? mmm MMM mmm MMM

Was being ironic now; will do the ironing later.
ME_wwwing
2 / 5 (4) Jul 30, 2009
this report is not all correct.
men may look to an energy source at a greater distances.
but women can see a males eyes at greater distances.
ever look at a woman walking towards ya? they turn the heads because they can see your looking at them. yet a male never sees her eyes.

ps. men do NOT look at a womans a$$. they look to the Ovaries Energy. same with women they look to a males balls. this is true when ones eyes are turned from the looker.
queers just look to see.
david_42
not rated yet Jul 30, 2009
Very little hunting occurs at the distance of 100 cm. To be valid, the study needs to be conducted at 'a stone's throw'. If it holds up at 25-50 meters, the conclusion might be believable.
defunctdiety
5 / 5 (1) Jul 30, 2009
Very little hunting occurs at the distance of 100 cm. To be valid, the study needs to be conducted at 'a stone's throw'. If it holds up at 25-50 meters, the conclusion might be believable.

Actually, if you're an aqua-ape fan a lot of hunting would have taken place at close range (spear fishing). Furthermore, even attacks on large prey would not have taken place at 25-50 meters, even modern man doesn't hunt at that distance unless he has a rifle and probably scope.

Man was not a successful hunter because he was accurate and could kill from long distances, he was successful because he could use tactics, wound an animal and track it until it gives up or dies from exhaustion.

I do agree however that 100 cm seems to be a little close, plus the study seems to say as much about hand-eye coordination as eyesight.
Velanarris
1 / 5 (1) Jul 30, 2009


Actually, if you're an aqua-ape fan a lot of hunting would have taken place at close range (spear fishing). Furthermore, even attacks on large prey would not have taken place at 25-50 meters, even modern man doesn't hunt at that distance unless he has a rifle and probably scope.

Man was not a successful hunter because he was accurate and could kill from long distances, he was successful because he could use tactics, wound an animal and track it until it gives up or dies from exhaustion.

I do agree however that 100 cm seems to be a little close, plus the study seems to say as much about hand-eye coordination as eyesight.


Partially correct, partially incorrect.

Early man hunted through two methods. One was up close and personal (within 20 yards) for larger prey.

The second method is what made us the superior homonid. We utilized throw weapons capable of up to a 40 yard throw with a good degree of accuracy. After wounding the animal tracking it was quite simple, if we missed we could fall back on our good ole sweat glands and run them down, as non glanded animals can't tolerate running long distances.

Now as for the aqua-ape theory, I believe it. Look at all of man's earliest settlements, always near a water source. That makes spear fishing an easy win for a viable food source, but, evidence points to early man mastering the gathering of shore shell fish before we started spear fishing.
ontheinternets
not rated yet Jul 30, 2009
... plus the study seems to say as much about hand-eye coordination as eyesight.


Ding! This is what I wanted to point out (pun not intended). They're pointing at something using a laser pointer from a distance. Assuming equal eyesight, I would be very surprised if guys did not fare better at such tasks. Guys tend to get more experience pointing, throwing and whatnot (and evolutionarily speaking, it may make sense if guys developed a bit of evolutionary advantage at tasks often performed by guys -- but you need evidence for that). It would also be expected that women on average would traditionally (in just about any culture) fare better at finer close-ranged tasks. There's no explanation of how they corrected for hand-eye coordination, if at all. I'd rather they had the dot wander around the midpoint and have them judge when it looks best (correcting for patience and such of course).
GaryB
5 / 5 (1) Jul 31, 2009
> 100 centimetres, while women were more accurate when
> the target was only 50 cms away, within arm's reach.

That's why us men are better at searching the horizon ... because we can point to something 3 feet away better than the chicks. I hope the study isn't actually as idiotic as this article.
defunctdiety
not rated yet Jul 31, 2009
We utilized throw weapons capable of up to a 40 yard throw with a good degree of accuracy.

I enjoy anthropology but I'm not much of a student of it, so I won't argue... too much. ;P

While atlatls had a great range and power (and I'm sure they had to take quite a few shots at 25m ), and were capable of wounding/killing beyond close range, I still can't imagine them being actually reliable beyond 25m.
Velanarris
1 / 5 (1) Jul 31, 2009
Scientific stats on the atlatl shows that an atlatl can readily achieve ranges of greater than 100 meters and speeds of over 150 km/h. They have atlatl contests and some of the throwers, using original designs and materials, have been able to hurl handmade darts over 200m accurately. The atlatl was an awesome piece of machinery for the time.

The atlatl wasn't replaced until the Bow and arrow, and that was only due to how much lighter the ammunition was and how much truer the projectile flew.

They have an atlatl league in Rhode Island. If you ever get a chance, go check it out, you'd be amazed how incredible this simple stick launcher really is.
fizzbliss
1.8 / 5 (5) Aug 01, 2009
This article makes a claim but provides no actual numbers to support the statements contained within it. To whomever wrote or posted this article, can you provide the percentages? I would like to know if there was the differences were statistically significant, or only if there were only slight differences. It would be easier to read it here than to try and find the paper. Thanks.
dmcl
not rated yet Aug 03, 2009
Seeing as how vision and perception are learned and practiced activities, this study seems to demonstrate little more than that english men watch more TV than english women

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.