Factors in the Development of Spatial Cognition in Boys and Girls

Assessing the Impacts of Biology and Navigational Experience

in Boyhood Studies
Restricted access

ABSTRACT

Spatial cognition represents one of the best-established sex differences in cognitive science. There is a pervasive tendency for males to outperform females on multiple spatial reasoning tasks. While prenatal hormones may provide a foundation for these differences, childhood experience also plays an important role. The current article examines how biological factors may interact with environmental and cultural factors. Of particular interest is the cross-cultural literature in which children’s naturalistic experiences exploring their environments can be linked to the development of spatial skills. Based on the examined research, children who gain more navigational experience tend to perform better on spatial tasks. Because boys typically have greater opportunities to explore and navigate, this difference in experience may contribute to the observed sex differences in spatial performance.

Contributor Notes

Mariah Schug is an Assistant Professor of Psychology at Widener University. Her research focuses on cultural and environmental influences on cognition. Much of her work considers the development of intergroup attitudes and spatial cognition in childhood. Her primary field site is the Faroe Islands, an autonomous province of Denmark located in the North Atlantic. Email: mschug@widener.edu

Boyhood Studies

An Interdisciplinary Journal

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