By: Blonde Two

At the start of our navigation workshop last weekend, I asked our lovely ladies (here they are practising compasses) why they wanted to learn to navigate. The answer, “Because my husband always has the map,” came up more than once.

It is interesting, isn’t it, the assumption that men will be better at navigating than women. I am not sure how serious all of the jokes about ‘women and maps’ and ‘only knowing the way to the hair dressers’ are. I do know that in our household, Mr B2 often has a much better instant grasp of the relationship between what he can see and where we are supposed to be going, whilst I am better at using systems (e.g. map and compass) to work out where we need to go.

This Norwegian study suggests that in tests men solved 50% more navigation tasks than women. Men tended to find locations by orienting themselves and heading in the right general direction, women did so by learning a route (the study even mentions the hair dresser!) Scans found out that whilst men’s brains made more use of the hippocampus (necessary for working with cardinal directions), women used their brains’ frontal areas and were particularly good at local memory.

So as far as I can see, the conclusions are thus:

  1. Men are more likely to know which direction they are facing (often the pub).
  2. Women will definitely be able to find the hairdressers.
  3. Men will find somewhere faster (and make sure they tell everybody that they have).
  4. Women are always right when they say, “We’ve been here before.”
  5. Women will generally look prettier when they arrive (fashionably late) at their destination.

We are sure that you have some little anecdotes about male and female navigation. Do share your comments on the topic with us! And if you ever meet Mr Blonde Two, ask him about Oswestry; I was sure that we had been there before!