Distracting information, motor performance and sex differences

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It is often argued that, in general, men are superior to women in perceptual motor skills (for example, car driving). Extensive reviews of the relevant literature do not give convincing evidence of sex differences in manual dexterity1 or motor skills in general2. However, in the studies reported here, variables have been isolated which demonstrate that sex differences do exist in two perceptual motor tasks. These studies showed that females are adversely affected by irrelevant stimuli while performing tasks permitting freedom in movements but perform as well as males when the movement is stereotyped.

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    Maccoby, E. E. & Jacklin, C. N. The Psychology of Sex Differences (Stanford University Press, California, 1974).

  2. 2

    Fairweather, H. Cognition 4, 231–280 (1976).

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    Laszlo, J. I. & Livesey, J. P. J. Motor Behav. 9, 171–188 (1977).

  4. 4

    Laszlo, J. I. & Bairstow, P. J. J. Motor Behav. 3, 241–252 (1971).

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Laszlo, J., Bairstow, P., Ward, G. et al. Distracting information, motor performance and sex differences. Nature 283, 377–378 (1980) doi:10.1038/283377a0

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