Encyclopedia of Evolutionary Psychological Science

Living Edition
| Editors: Todd K. Shackelford, Viviana A. Weekes-Shackelford

Sex Differences in Spatial Abilities

  • Guy MadisonEmail author
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-16999-6_404-1



Differences between males and females in the faculty that processes neural representations of physical space, such as the orientation and movement of objects.


Spatial ability (SA) is an overarching concept for a wide range of abilities that involve neural representation and manipulation of physical space. Examples include wayfinding, running, jumping, and ballistic feats, such as hitting game in hunt or enemies in warfare, as well as the invention and construction of machinery, writ large. While human (gonadal) sex differences in cognitive abilities are generally small, males systematically and substantially outperform females on tests of SA, with meta-analytic effect sizes in the range 0.48–0.94 (Linn...

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Umeå UniversityUmeåSweden

Section editors and affiliations

  • Haley Dillon
    • 1
  1. 1.Marist CollegePoughkeepsieUSA