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Poster F117

Sex differences in spatial abilities extend beyond vision: Insights from the auditory Corsi test

Poster Session F - Tuesday, April 16, 2024, 8:00 – 10:00 am EDT, Sheraton Hall ABC

Daniela Aguilar1 (, Walter Setti2, Monica Gori2, Claudia L. Gonzalez1; 1The University of Lethbridge, 2U-Vip Unit, Italian Institute of Technology, Genoa, Italy

Spatial abilities allow humans to comprehend and remember spatial relationships among objects positioned in space. These abilities, for example, play a crucial role in navigating one's environment, assembling furniture, and finding a vehicle in a crowded parking lot. Numerous studies have shown that males outperform female participants in visual-spatial tasks, particularly in the Mental Rotation Test (MRT; Shepard & Metzler, 1971). However, these sex differences have been primarily studied in the visual modality, leaving a gap in the exploration of sex differences in spatial abilities in other sensory modalities. This study investigates spatial abilities using both, visual and auditory stimuli. Fifty young adult participants (n=25 females) took part in the study. The well-established MRT was used to examine visual-spatial abilities. The Audio-Corsi (Setti et al., 2021) was used to examine audio-spatial skills. For the latter test, blindfolded participants were asked to localize the auditory stimuli (i.e., sounds), which were spatially arranged around the listener’s head and delivered through headphones. The sounds appeared to come from different locations and were presented in a sequence; the sequences increased in length from two to up to nine sounds. Results showed that males outperformed female participants in the MRT. Interestingly, significant positive relationships between the visual and auditory tasks were found for males but not for females. These findings suggest that females employ distinct mechanisms when addressing auditory spatial tasks, while males leveraged their mental rotation strength to solve the auditory spatial task. This research advances our understanding of sex differences in spatial function.

Topic Area: PERCEPTION & ACTION: Other


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April 13–16  |  2024