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Boys and Girls Really Do See Things Differently

What Are The Differences?

Men trail women in discerning shades of blue, yellow, and green, a new study says.

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Females are better at discriminating among colors, researchers say, while males excel at tracking fast-moving objects and discerning detail from a distance—evolutionary adaptations possibly linked to our hunter-gatherer past.

The study, led by Brooklyn College psychology professor Israel Abramov, put young adults with normal vision through a battery of tests.

In color experiments the men and women tended to ascribe different shades to the same objects. The researchers think they know why.

"Across most of the visible spectrum males require a slightly longer wavelength than do females in order to experience the same hue," the team concludes in the latest issue of the journal Biology of Sex Differences.

Since longer wavelengths are associated with "warmer" colors, an orange, for example, may appear redder to a man than to a woman. Likewise, the grass is almost always greener to women than to men, to whom verdant objects appear a bit yellower.

The study also found that men are less adept at distinguishing among shades in the center of the color spectrum: blues, greens, and yellows.

Where the men shone was in detecting quick-changing details from afar, particularly by better tracking the thinner, faster-flashing bars within a bank of blinking lights.

The team puts this advantage down to neuron development in the visual cortex, which is boosted by masculine hormones. Since males are flush with testosterone, in particular, they're born with 25 percent more neurons in this brain region than females, the team noted.

Source: nationalgeographic

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