Why Go There? Evolution of Mobility and Spatial Cognition in Women and Men
- 874 Downloads
Males in many non-monogamous species have larger ranges than females do, a sex difference that has been well documented for decades and seems to be an aspect of male mating competition. Until recently, parallel data for humans have been mostly anecdotal and qualitative, but this is now changing as human behavioral ecologists turn their attention to matters of individual mobility. Sex differences in spatial cognition were among the first accepted psychological sex differences and, like differences in ranging behavior, are documented for a growing set of species. This special issue is dedicated to exploring the possible adaptive links between these cognitive and ranging traits. Multiple hypotheses, at various levels of analysis, are considered. At the functional (ultimate) level, a mating-competition hypothesis suggests that range expansion may augment mating opportunities, and a fertility-and-parental-care hypothesis suggests that range contraction may facilitate offspring provisioning. At a more mechanistic (proximate) level, differences in cue availability may support or inhibit particular sex-specific navigation strategies, and spatial anxiety may usefully inhibit travel that would not justify its costs. Studies in four different cultures—Twe, Tsimane, Yucatec Maya, and Faroese—as well as an experimental study using virtual reality tools are the venue for testing these hypotheses. Our hope is to stimulate more research on the evolutionary and developmental processes responsible for this suite of linked behavioral and cognitive traits.
KeywordsMobility Navigation Spatial cognition Development Mating strategies Parenting strategies
- Campbell, A. (1999). Staying alive: evolution, culture, and women’s intrasexual aggression. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 22(02), 203–214.Google Scholar
- Cashdan, E., Kramer, K. L., Davis, H. E., Padilla, L., & Greaves, R. D. (2015). Mobility and navigation among the Yucatec Maya: sex differences reflect parental investment, not mating competition. Human Nature, 27(1). doi: 10.1007/s12110-015-9250-7.
- Choi, J., & Silverman, I. (1996). Sexual dimorphism in spatial behaviors: applications to route learning. Evolution and Cognition, 2(2), 165–171.Google Scholar
- Cross, C. P., Cyrenne D.-L. M., & Brown, G. R. (2013). Sex differences in sensation-seeking: a meta-analysis. Scientific Reports, 3(2486).Google Scholar
- Gagnon, K. (2015). Not all those who wander are lost: Characterizing sex differences in spatial exploration and their relationship to navigation ability. PhD dissertation, University of Utah, Salt Lake City.Google Scholar
- Gagnon, K. T., Cashdan, E. A., Stefanucci, J. K., & Creem-Regehr, S. H. (2015). Sex differences in exploration behavior and the relationship to harm avoidance. Human Nature, 27(1). doi: 10.1007/s12110-015-9248-1.
- Galea, L., Kavaliers, M., & Ossenkopp, K.-P. (1996). Sexually dimorphic spatial learning in meadow voles Microtus pennsylvanicus and deer mice Peromyscus maniculatus. The Journal of Experimental Biology, 199, 195–200.Google Scholar
- Gaulin, S., & Hoffman, H. (1988). Evolution and development of sex differences in spatial ability. In L. Betzig, M. Borgerhoff Mulder, & P. Turke (Eds.), Human reproductive behavior (pp. 129–152). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
- Halpern D. (2013). Sex differences in cognitive abilities. East Sussex, UK: Psychology Press.Google Scholar
- Harris, C. R., Jenkins, M., & Glaser, D. (2006). Gender differences in risk assessment: why do women take fewer risks than men. Judgment and Decision Making, 1(1), 48–63.Google Scholar
- Hart, R. (1979). Children’s experience of place. New York: John Wiley and Sons.Google Scholar
- Hines, M. (2003). Brain gender. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
- Kelly, R. L. (1983). Hunter-gatherer mobility strategies. Journal of Anthropological Research, 39(3), 277–306.Google Scholar
- Kimura, D. (2000). Sex and cognition. Cambridge: MIT Press.Google Scholar
- Maccoby, E. E., & Jacklin, C. N. (1974). The psychology of sex differences. Palo Alto: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
- MacDonald, D., & Hewlett, B. (1999). Reproductive interests and forager mobility. Current Anthropology, 40(4), 501–524.Google Scholar
- Melnick, D., Jolly, C., & Kidd, K. (1984b). The genetics of a wild population of rhesus monkeys (macaca mulatta), I. Genetic variability within and between social groups. American Journal of Physical Anthropology, 63, 341–360.Google Scholar
- Schug, M. G. (2015). Navigational style, parental restrictiveness, and spatial reasoning: Wayfinding anxiety and childhood experience in the Faroe Islands. Human Nature, 27(1). doi: 10.1007/s12110-015-9245-4.
- Sellet, F., Greaves, R., & Yu, P. L. (Eds.). (2006). Archaeology and ethnoarchaeology of mobility. Gainesville: University Press of Florida.Google Scholar
- Trumble, B. C., Gaulin, S. J. C., Dunbar, M. D., Kaplan, H., & Gurven, M. (2015). No sex or age difference in dead-reckoning ability among Tsimane forager-horticulturalists. Human Nature, 27(1). doi: 10.1007/s12110-015-9246-3.
- Vashro, L. (2015). Are sex differences in mobility all about mating? Paper presented at the Human Behavior and Evolution Society annual meeting, University of Missouri, Columbia MO.Google Scholar
- Vashro, L., Padilla, L., & Cashdan, L. (2015). Sex differences in mobility and spatial cognition: a test of the fertility and parental care hypothesis in northwestern Namibia. Human Nature, 27(1). doi: 10.1007/s12110-015-9247-2.
- Whiting, B. B., & Edwards, C. P. (1992). Children of different worlds: The formation of social behavior. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar