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Adaptive spatial cognition The effect of fitness relevance on performance in a spatial task

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Description: Past research, most notably the work of Silverman and Eals (1992) and Eals and Silverman (1994), has attempted to explain the repeatedly evidenced spatial performance differences between males and females in evolutionary terms. Despite their successes their findings have remained controversial, with other researchers either having difficulty replicating their results, or explaining them away as the result of other phenomena (Choi & L'Hirondelle, 2005). In addition, research in the cognitive realm has demonstrated that evolutionarily salient (or fitness relevant) processing enhances performance in a memory task (Nairne, Pandeirada, Gregory, & Van Arsdall, 2009). The present study utilized a novel paradigm crafted to determine what effect fitness relevant processing would have on a spatial task containing aspects of both hunting (a strategy expected to favor males) and gathering (a strategy expected to favor females). Results demonstrated that fitness relevant processing improved some aspects of task performance, but participants' overwhelming tendency to utilize the hunting strategy over the gathering one limited the conclusions that could be drawn.
Language: English
Format: Degree Work