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Front. Pharmacol. | doi: 10.3389/fphar.2018.00097

No gender differences in egocentric and allocentric environmental transformation after compensating for male advantage by manipulating familiarity

 Raffaella Nori1*,  Laura Piccardi2, 3,  Andrea Maialetti4, Mirco Goro4, Andrea Rossetti4, Ornella Argento4 and  Cecilia Guariglia3, 4
  • 1Università di Bologna, Italy
  • 2Life, Health and Environmental Science Department, University of L'Aquila, Italy
  • 3Neuropsychology Unit, Fondazione Santa Lucia (IRCCS), Italy
  • 4Department of Psychology, 39, Sapienza Università di Roma, Italy

The present study has twofold aims: to investigate whether gender differences persist even when more time is given to acquire spatial information; to assess the gender effect when the retrieval phase requires recalling the pathway from the same or a different reference perspective (egocentric or allocentric). Specifically, we analyse the performance of men and women while learning a path from a map or by observing an experimenter in a real environment. We then asked them to reproduce the learned path using the same reference system (map learning vs map retrieval or real environment learning vs real environment retrieval) or using a different reference system (map learning vs real environment retrieval or vice versa). The results showed that gender differences were not present in the retrieval phase when women have the necessary time to acquire spatial information. Moreover, using the egocentric coordinates (both in the learning and retrieval phase) proved easier than the other conditions, whereas learning through allocentric coordinates and then retrieving the environmental information using egocentric coordinates proved to be the most difficult. Results showed that by manipulating familiarity, gender differences disappear or are attenuated in all conditions.

Keywords: gender differences, allocentric frames of references, egocentric frames of references, Change of perspective, Learning time

Received: 01 Aug 2017; Accepted: 29 Jan 2018.

Edited by:

Alfredo Meneses, Centro de Investigación y de Estudios Avanzados del Instituto Politécnico Nacional (CINVESTAV-IPN), Mexico

Reviewed by:

Aaron Wilber, Florida State University, United States
Zoltan Nadasdy, NeuroTexas Institute and Research Foundation, United States  

Copyright: © 2018 Nori, Piccardi, Maialetti, Goro, Rossetti, Argento and Guariglia. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Dr. Raffaella Nori, Università di Bologna, Bologna, Italy, raffaella.nori@unibo.it