GOOD

A New Study Claiming ‘Men Read Maps Better Than Women’ Isn’t True At All

Results suggest negative reinforcement may have been the sole factor in the gap.

In case you’re a girl or guy that’s ever fallen back on the convenient excuse that women just can’t navigate as well as a man – you’re in need of a new crutch, because science has proven that women can read a map just as well as men do.

While it has been demonstrated that men tend to perform better in tests requiring spatial ability, but UCSB’s Margaret Tarampi, the lead author of a recent study in Psychological Science, suggests that this isn’t an innate difference, but something that manifests as a result of social influences. In short, if people are repeatedly told that they’re inferior at something, they tend to match the lowered expectations and perform poorly as a result.


Videos such as this one serve as quintessential relics of the outdated theory:

Supporting this line of thinking is the fact that women only performed worse than men at map reading when they were informed of the age-old stereotype. Those who weren’t scored as well as men. That said, the test also found that women’s abilities increased when the task was tied to a social component, like helping a stranger or incorporated a human dimension such as relying on faces as milestones.

So as much as this news rebukes the age-old fallacy, it also serves as a reminder that self-fulfilling prophecies are powerful phenomena in the human mind. Says Tarampi to the Huffington Post:

“When we tell participants that this is a test of perspective-taking and perspective-taking is about empathy, then in that case women perform the same as males.”

So the bad news for this guy is that if he’s looking for scientific support, he’s going to need to fund a new study, and even then, I wouldn’t bank on things shaking out the way he wants:

The study doesn’t discredit earlier work suggesting specific strengths and weaknesses in the realm of spatial abilities, but it does put them into an important context that suggests “baggage” may affect a person’s ability in tests such as these. So if you’ve drawn the short end of the stereotype when it comes to navigation and map reading, you will find you’re far more capable than you’ve been given credit for.

Health
via Douglas Muth / Flickr

Sin City is doing something good for its less fortunate citizens as well as those who've broken the law this month. The city of Las Vegas, Nevada will drop any parking ticket fines for those who make a donation to a local food bank.

A parking ticket can cost up to $100 in Las Vegas but the whole thing can be forgiven by bringing in non-perishable food items of equal or greater value to the Parking Services Offices at 500 S. Main Street through December 16.

The program is designed to help the less fortunate during the holidays.

Keep Reading Show less
Communities

For more than 20 years. Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) has served the citizens of Maine in the U.S. Senate. For most of that time, she has enjoyed a hard-fought reputation as a moderate Republican who methodically builds bridges and consensus in an era of political polarization. To millions of political observers, she exemplified the best of post-partisan leadership, finding a "third way" through the static of ideological tribalism.

However, all of that has changed since the election of Donald Trump in 2016. Voters in Maine, particularly those who lean left, have run out of patience with Collins and her seeming refusal to stand up to Trump. That frustration peaked with the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.

Keep Reading Show less
Politics
via Truthout.org / Flickr and Dimitri Rodriguez / Flickr

Bernie Sanders' presidential campaign looks to be getting a huge big shot in the arm after it's faced some difficulties over the past few weeks.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a leading voice in the Democratic parties progressive, Democratic Socialist wing, is expected to endorse Sanders' campaign at the "Bernie's Back" rally in Queens, New York this Saturday.

Fellow member of "the Squad," Ilhan Omar, endorsed him on Wednesday.

Keep Reading Show less
Politics
Photo by HAL9001 on Unsplash

The U.K. is trying to reach its goal of net-zero emissions by 2050, but aviation may become the biggest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the U.K. by that same year. A new study commissioned by the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) and conducted at the Imperial College London says that in order for the U.K. to reach its target, aviation can only see a 25% increase, and they've got a very specific recommendation on how to fix it: Curb frequent flyer programs.

Currently, air travel accounts for 2% of global greenhouse gas emissions, however that number is projected to increase for several reasons. There's a growing demand for air travel, yet it's harder to decarbonize aviation. Electric cars are becoming more common. Electric planes, not so much. If things keep on going the way they are, flights in the U.K. should increase by 50%.

Nearly every airline in the world has a frequent flyer program. The programs offer perks, including free flights, if customers get a certain amount of points. According to the study, 70% of all flights from the U.K. are taken by 15% of the population, with many people taking additional (and arguably unnecessary) flights to "maintain their privileged traveler status."

Keep Reading Show less
The Planet