Q. Neither of my two boys seem to find things easily in the refrigerator. Both my girls can! Is this a gender difference?

 

A. According to authors Barbara and Allan Pease in their book Why Men Don’t Have a Clue and Women Always Need More Shoes, males have a long range tunnel vision style as compared with females who have a short range but wider peripheral vision. In everyday living this could impact the ease with which males and females locate items in refrigerators, cupboards, and drawers (where a wider peripheral style of vision may offer an advantage). Some have explained that this difference may be related to the fact that males used to be the “hunters” and females the “gatherers.” I wasn’t there back then so I can’t comment on that! I do know that my three step-sons typically asked me to “find” items in the refrigerator for them. My guess is that the distance between eyes and refrigerator shelving is a better match with female peripheral vision than with male tunnel vision. This also may mean that males are able to “see” signage on highways more easily than females or at least from a further distance. Does understanding this make the differences go away? Certainly not! But I laugh about it now and waste no energy in becoming irritated or upset. It also provides an opportunity to set up the environment in a way that works more efficiently for both males and females.

 

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