Certain truths are indeed eternal: We all die. We cannot survive without food or water. Men don’t ask for directions. Yet when it comes to the last one, some might question why?
A recent study from England wanted to know whether it was in fact the case that men don’t multitask as well as women. Sure, we can channel surf with the best of them and yes we men can rattle off the latest stats for the 49er front line. What if we had to do that while we were taking care of a screaming baby who desperately needed a diaper change?
The study involved men and women who at first were given a simple task of completing computer tests. Both sexes performed equally. However, if the tests had to be completed quicker, women slightly outperformed their male counterparts.
In the next part of the study a series of tasks were to be completed within an impossibly short time of 8 minutes. These were: locate something on a map (not ask for directions; simple math problems; answer a phone call; and finally figure out a plan to search for a lost key (this last one might be an issue as guys have a hard time finding most anything but the sports section of the newspaper and the last refrigerated beer.). These actions required organization, prioritization and patience (whoops might also be an issue for many guys especially the last one).
Guess what? Women significantly outperformed men. Evolution perhaps has the answers: Men were hunter gatherers which, face it guys, doesn’t require a physics degree, while women had to juggle domestic issues such as preparing the meals, taking care of the offspring and deciding whether the cave needed yet another remodel. Such actions required multitasking and hence the superiority of women in this regard.
Nowadays many jobs require multitasking.,which means juggling many tasks rapidly. More studies I am sure will be planned to fine tune just what tasks each sex does better. However, I am still waiting for some intrepid psychology researcher to answer the age old question of why men don’t ask for directions.