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  1. 1. Point to-accredit with, account forStereotype-characteristicDevelop-accrue,advance,evolve,cultivateStrategy-aerial tactics,approachRestriction-boundary,breakReverse-invertSimplify-clarify,abridge,refineCue-bit, bit partReport-declare,describeRotation-articulation,chainCorrelate-associate,connect,correspondResult from-arise from,follow fromInfluence-affect,have impact uponArise from=derive fromObtain-gain,go,getDissociate-separate,setapart,segregateEmerge-appear, come outFavor-support,give preference toHighlight-emphasise,accent,featureResult from=Display-demonstrate, expose, feature, manifestPresent-demonstrate,bring forwardImpede-hinder, inhibit, obstructImply-mean,suggest,indicateManipulation-treatment,usePreclude-eliminate
  2. 2. ResultsT valueDegrees of freedom-n-1,within or between subjectsAlpha or p valueOne or two-tailed hypothesisAccept or reject the hypothesisExplain the results in terms of the hypothesis the results-Measures of central tendency were computed to summarize thedata for the age variable. Measures of dispersion were computed to understand thevariability of scores for the age variable. The following are the results of this analysis;N = 10, M=22.80, SD=8.12. When you look at the mean, it appears that moststudents in our class were of traditional college age. However, based on the largestandard deviation, it looks like the ages varied quite a bit.”Procedure and participants:-interview 15 males and 15 females-location-somewhere convenient in Bournemouth away from a main road andinterview passers-by,asking them to find where I am on the mapAccording to Lawton et al. men were better in way-giving tasks. By contrast,Olaughlin and Brubaker (1998) didn`t find differences in a mapping task. aim of this study was to investigate gender differences in spatial orientation. The materials usedwere a map,on which participants would point to the current location of the interviewer and a timerto measure their response times. This investigation was aimed at finding out how males and females
  3. 3. differed in giving directions, what strategies they used and what other factors had impact on theirperformance. Researchers use two types of knowledge that are generally the basis for way finding:route knowledge and survey knowledge (O`Keefe & Nadel,1978; Russel& Ward,1982; Siegel &White,1975; Zimring,1985). Route knowledge includes a list of instructions about how to get fromone location to the next. Survey knowledge involves a cognitive map of the environment thatcombines routes in a gestalt-like network of relationships between locations. Recent evidence showsthat relying on route knowledge as opposed to survey knowledge may be gender related. Bever(1992) declared that women tended to perform better at learning a 8-figure maze when required totravel in the same direction on all trials than when required to start at opposite points on alternatingtrials ( using the route knowledge).On the other hand,men learned the maze better in the two-waycondition than in the one-way condition.Gender differences in spatial ability are typically tested using either abstract laboratory words suchas mental rotation tests, or more real world tasks, such as map reading, showing the direction ofunseen locations and etc. In addition, four visio-spatial working memory tasks (VSWM) were showed.Significant differences giving preference to men were reported, supporting existing evidence.However ,there wasn`t a significant difference between men and women in orientation tasksperformance. The methods of correlation between working memory and spatial orientation tasksshowed that men and women used somewhat different strategies in executing the orientation tasks.In Gender effects on cognitive abilities were under a huge investigation in the past Inparticular, differences in visuo-spatial abilities have been reported and confirmed byexperimentalevidence (see Halpern, 2000; Maccoby&Jacklin, 1974; Richardson,1991) and meta-analytic studies (Linn & Petersen, 1985; Voyer, Voyer, &Bryden,1995). Several hypotheses have been put forward to explain these findings either focusingon biological factors such as hormones (e.g. Broverman et al., 1981; Kimura, 1999) or
  4. 4. genetic influences (e.g. Dawson, 1972; Kimura, 1999). More recently, several authorsemphasizedthe importance of socio-cultural factors on women’ performance in visuo-spatialtasks (e.g. Baenninger&Newcombe, 1989; Caplan, Crawford, Hyde, & Richardson,1997; Richardson, 1994), showing significant effects of training and cognitivestrategies.Copyright # 2004 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.*The characteristics of these tasks are as follows: 1) they had to be related to the relevant theoreticalconcepts in this field, namely landmark, route and survey knowledge, as originally proposed by Siegeland White (1975). 2) The Palatino map proved to be the ideal ground for developing a battery ofsensible tools for investigating individual differences. It is rather different from other artificial mapsthat have been used in the literature, such as the one designed by Thorndyke and Stasz (1980) withrespect of two characteristics: the distinctive visual characteristics of the different landmarks and theirregular not grid-like nature of the map. 3) All tasks require recognition: this procedure increasedthe ecological value of these tasks, maintaining at the same time the possibility of differentiatingamong groups. In addition, the characteristics of the material make it possible to hypothesize afuture use with people who already experience a reduction in their cognitive abilities, such aspatients affected by Alzheimer-type dementia, or people deserving special attention like elderlypeople. It has been repeatedly suggested that visuo-spatial deficits as well as orientation andgeographical abilities could well predict early signs of neurological deterioration (e.g. Beatty &Bernstein, 1989; Kaskie&Storandt, 1995). However, a battery of orientation tasks that could addressboth clinical and theoretical needs is not, at present, available.In order to evaluate the contribution of VSWM on orientation performance—namely the ability touse map information in a wide sample of orientation tasks such as map completion, wayfinding, maprotation, Euclidean and route distance judgement—a set of VSWM tasks including both active andpassive processing was used. Moreover women and men sub-samples were analyzed in order toevaluate differences, if any, in the structure of such relationship. By considering the overallperformance in the eight orientation tasks, results indicated a relationship between these two sets ofabilities. However, the percentage of explained variance predicted by VSWM abilities is significantlyhigher for men than for women. This result is of particular importance since empirical evidence was
  5. 5. not present in the contribution of VSWM in orientation tasks. Although the involvement of VSWMabilities in orientation tasks is less relevant in women than in men, active processes seem to play animportant role. This result strengthened the relationship between visuo-spatial active processes andfemale gender, as previous studies supported (e.g. Paivio& Clark, 1991; Vecchi&Girelli, 1998). From atheoretical point of view, data confirmed the importance of considering the characteristics of thetask as an essential variable in interpreting working memory functions. Each task could well bedefined in terms of amount of active manipulation required and this variable influences themagnitude of individual differences (see Cornoldi&Vecchi, 2003).Moreover, present evidence suggests that lower abilities could not reflect limitations in the activeprocessing component but rather the choice of visuo-spatial strategy including an overload of activeresources or simply an incorrect selection of the best strategy for each kind of task. Our data alsosuggest that gender differences do emerge in association with laboratory tests but are less evident inecological tasks. This could partially explain the adoption of different strategies in the femalepopulations: such strategies are overall less efficient but do not determine critical limitations ineveryday life.DiscussionIt is also important to consider gender effect while investigating visuo-spatial abilities since differentpatterns of performance between men and women could result in minimizing overall cognitivedifferences thus determining non -significant results. This shows the need to analyse gender effectstogetherwith cognitive strategies as for the performance of poor and good orienters. In several tasks,poor and good orienters did show a partially different pattern in men and women. This pattern isclearly compatible with the adoption of different strategies in relation with gender determiningsignificant differences in performance. An interesting pattern of relationship between poor and goodorienters and sex was found: three tasks (two route tasks and the map completion task) showedgender-related differences, where men were better in good orienters, whereas the Euclideandistance judgement task indicated an opposite pattern with poor orienters. The nature andcharacteristics of men and women’ strategies cannot be inferred from the present study and needfurther investigation in future research. However present datashows that interpreting genderdifferences not only in terms of specific cognitive capacities is important not only in terms of specificcognitive capacities but also with relation to more general metacognitive issues.A set of differences between men and women were favoured : 1) VSWM predict orientation ability,better in men than in women. 2) The orientation performance of women is more accuratelypredicted by the tasks involving active processing, showing that it is critical in womens visuo-spatialperformance. 3) Gender-related differences appear between men and women when differentanalyses for low and high ability groups are performed. In particular male good orienters performedbetter than women on both route and survey tasks. 4) Gender-related differences in VSWM areconfirmed: our results support the previous findings.In conclusion, visuo-spatial abilities could be very important for the execution of orientation tasks.However, VSWM tasks can explain only a limited percentage of variance in orientation tasks and it isnecessary to hypothesize a greater involvement of other components of working memory. Moreover,the involvement of VSWM in orientation abilities seems to be related to gender differences. Men arelikely to use visuo-spatial abilities when orienting in the environment to a greater extent than
  6. 6. women do; this finding is supported by results showing a difference between men and women inthe good orienters ability group. These results emphasized that cognitive strategies may bothmodulate cognitive abilities and help analyze gender differences. Vecchi (2001) has recently pointedout the critical role of mental strategies in determining gender differences in visuo-spatial tasks wheninterpreting the nature of males advantage in an active visuo-spatial task. The interpretation ofindividual differences in terms of selection and adoption of different cognitive strategies does givepreference to the role of metacognitive abilities in determining the level of VSWM capacity (seeCornoldi&Vecchi, 2003) and, from a theoretical perspective, the importance of considering theworking memory system as a whole. A visuo-spatial task requires the active involvement of morethan a single item of the system and thus it is particularly important to understand not onlysegregation between individual components but also interaction and coordination between suchcomponents. females malesmean 17.57 22.19Std dev. 17.194 20.594median 16.41 15.93A set ofVSWM tasks involving both active and passive processing was used in order to evaluate thecontribution of VSWM on orientation performance.Moreover weanalysed women and men sub-samples in order to assess differences, if any, in thestructure of such relationship.