Female Advantage for Object Location Memory in Peripersonal but not Extrapersonal Space
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The neural representation of peripersonal space may be distinct from the representation of extrapersonal space. Sex differences in the performance of motor tasks might relate to proximity to the body. In the spatial domain, females excel at tasks performed in peripersonal space, like the Object Location Memory Task (OLMT), whereas males excel at tasks performed in extrapersonal space, such as navigation. We compared performance on the OLMT in peripersonal space with performance on the same task in extrapersonal space (using a between-subjects design). As predicted, the typical female advantage was observed for the peripersonal OLMT. However, for the extrapersonal OLMT, the female advantage disappeared and males actually outperformed females. These results suggest that the sex differences observed in the OLMT, and potentially other tasks that exhibit sex differences in performance, may be related to sex differences to spatial-motor systems that are preferentially tuned to proximity.
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