It has long been assumed that men see things in black and white while women tend to see things in full color. This can often lead to a communication breakdown between a man and a woman. Now there is research to back that theory up. A recent study involving 113 men and women examined the answers to subjective questions such as “Is a tomato a fruit?” and saw some clear distinctions between how male and female test subjects responded. The majority of the men in the study answered the questions by categorizing the objects quite definitively; whereas the women in the study were more likely to place objects in a “partial” classification.
The study, conducted at the University of Warwick, is thought to be the first of its kind to experiment with these nuances in male and female thinking patterns. The research does not point to either response system as being better than the other. It does, however, reveal that there are positive and negative implications of each method of thinking. Dr. Zachary Estes, one of the authors of the research paper, explains why. “Of course, simply because we have found a significant sex difference in how men and women categorize does not mean that one method is intrinsically better than the other. For instance, male doctors may be more likely to quickly and confidently diagnose a set of symptoms as a disease. Although this brings great advantages in treating diseases early, it obviously has massive disadvantages if the diagnosis is actually wrong. In many cases, a more open approach to categorizing or diagnosing would be more effective.”
Although the results do not provide evidence supporting one response system or another, they shed light on why men and women often have staunch differences of opinion in their relationships.
© Copyright 2011 by By Noah Rubinstein, LMFT, LMHC, therapist in Olympia, Washington. All Rights Reserved. Permission to publish granted to GoodTherapy.org.
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