[LMB] Men and Women, and Direction-Finding (was OT: Joke, Apologies)

kerry weisselberg kerilli at gmail.com
Wed Mar 4 15:53:39 GMT 2009

Francis trumpets, "I don't need no stinkin' GPS -- I got instincts." (-: Or
> something similar and cave-man-ny.
and Micki wrote: "I will admit that without other options, my husand is more
spatially and
> cartographically adept than I am. However, I often find the place faster
> because I give up and ask directions sooner. (-: It takes a village."

I don't know if it counts as popsci, but please may I recommend Why Men
Don't Listen and Women Can't Read Maps if anyone is interested in a bit of
softish science about the differences between how men and women think and
behave. Okay, there are lots and lots of sweeping generalisations, and I
realise that there are many exceptions, but there are some interesting
studies quoted. One idea that fascinated me is that many more men than women
can point accurately to (magnetic) North if guided into a featureless room
and asked which direction is North, and that this may be due to the fact
that they have a higher level of iron in their blood... the iron somehow
helps them "feel" it.  There is a quiz in it which helps determine how
masculine or feminine ones brain is, which is fun. One of the questions is
along the lines of "do you turn a map round in the direction you are going,
or not need to?" I was castigated for doing this once, but someone else told
me that that is how the Army teach map-reading - that you should always
orientate the map according to which way you are facing. I have no idea
which is 'right' - sometimes I need to orientate, other times not!
I have no natural sense of direction at all, but am now pretty good at
reading maps and paying strict attention to landmarks, and at spotting
people who look 'local' and can give good direction. Plus I'm never too
proud to stop and ask!  I have suffered the classic 'man driving who will
NOT stop and ask for directions and will drive in ever more infuriated
circles for hours" scenario in the past...!


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