You ever see a couple together and the guy keeps pointing at the street and saying things like, “Buick, Jetta, Jeep Wrangler, Chrysler LeBaron,” while the woman points at the sky and says things like, “wild Canadian goose, finch, snowy egret”? Well, there is now a scientific explanation for this common occurrence. Researchers at Vanderbuilt University have discovered that men are better at recognizing cars, and women are better at recognizing birds. In other words, when it comes to efforts to increase pedestrianism and preserve wildlife, we know who we should be recruiting.
The researchers were looking to uncover the role that expertise plays in object recognition, using a test that includes many different categories. The categories: leaves, owls, butterflies, wading birds, mushrooms, cars, planes, and motorcycles. The discovery that men are better at recognizing cars and women at recognizing birds was not something they were looking at specifically, which is good since it is hard to imagine who might find this discovery at all useful. Another discovery: People who are better at recognizing faces are better at recognizing objects in general, and this is true for both genders. Another way of expressing that discovery: Some people are just not paying attention to shit and some of these people are men and some of those people are women. Expect a press release very soon.
Nearly everyone becomes an expert at recognizing faces, because of their importance for social interactions. Most people also develop expertise for recognizing other types of objects due to their jobs, hobbies, and interests, and also the influence of culture. Although you’d sort of think that our culture would influence people of all genders to be tuned in to cars and not give a shit about birds.
Sex matters: Guys recognize cars and women recognize birds best, Eurekalert.