Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Sound localization at cocktail parties is easier for men

Date:
July 1, 2011
Source:
Elsevier
Summary:
Differences in male and female behavior are often subject to study. Women are known to be more verbally fluent, have better manual dexterity. Men tend to excel in what are known as visuo-spatial abilities. A new study has demonstrated that men have a similar advantage in their hearing.

Differences in male and female behaviour are often subject to study. Women are known to be more verbally fluent, have better manual dexterity and are better at noticing things (like a new haircut). Men on the other hand often take less time parking their cars and have less trouble than women in navigating in a new city. The latter capacities, in which men tend to excel, are known as visuo-spatial abilities. A new study has demonstrated that men have a similar advantage in their hearing.

The findings are published in the June 2011 issue of Elsevier's Cortex.

Ida Zündorf from the Center of Neurology at Tübingen University, together with Prof. Hans-Otto Karnath and Dr. Jörg Lewald, investigated the audio-spatial abilities in healthy men and women by means of a sound-localization task. Participants were asked to listen to sounds and determine the location of the sound source, either by pointing towards it or by naming the exact position (e.g. 45 degrees left). At first, sounds were presented one at a time and both men and women accomplished the task with great accuracy. Later, several sounds were presented simultaneously and participants had to focus on and localize only one sound. This is known as the cocktail party phenomenon -- the human capacity to detect and focus on one particular sound source in a noisy environment.

Interestingly, women found the second task much more difficult, compared to men, to the extent that in some cases they even thought the sounds were coming from the opposite direction.

These results suggest that men are not only better at visuo-spatial tasks, but also in auditory-spatial tasks. Since this male advantage was only found in the cocktail party situation, i.e. women performed equally well when sounds were presented one at a time, this indicates that the difference is related to a "high attentional mechanism" in the brain specifically involved in extracting spatial information of one particular sound source in a noisy environment. It has been speculated that men have developed these spatial abilities as the result of natural and sexual selection throughout human evolution.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Elsevier. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Ida C. Zündorf, Hans-Otto Karnath, Jörg Lewald. Male advantage in sound localization at cocktail parties. Cortex, 2011; 47 (6): 741 DOI: 10.1016/j.cortex.2010.08.002

Cite This Page:

Elsevier. "Sound localization at cocktail parties is easier for men." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 1 July 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/06/110630111536.htm>.
Elsevier. (2011, July 1). Sound localization at cocktail parties is easier for men. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 2, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/06/110630111536.htm
Elsevier. "Sound localization at cocktail parties is easier for men." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/06/110630111536.htm (accessed September 2, 2014).

Share This




More Mind & Brain News

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Can You Train Your Brain To Eat Healthy?

Can You Train Your Brain To Eat Healthy?

Newsy (Sep. 1, 2014) — New research says if you condition yourself to eat healthy foods, eventually you'll crave them instead of junk food. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Coffee Then Napping: The (New) Key To Alertness

Coffee Then Napping: The (New) Key To Alertness

Newsy (Aug. 30, 2014) — Researchers say having a cup of coffee then taking a nap is more effective than a nap or coffee alone. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Young Entrepreneurs Get $100,000, If They Quit School

Young Entrepreneurs Get $100,000, If They Quit School

AFP (Aug. 29, 2014) — Twenty college-age students are getting 100,000 dollars from a Silicon Valley leader and a chance to live in San Francisco in order to work on the start-up project of their dreams, but they have to quit school first. Duration: 02:20 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Baby Babbling Might Lead To Faster Language Development

Baby Babbling Might Lead To Faster Language Development

Newsy (Aug. 29, 2014) — A new study suggests babies develop language skills more quickly if their parents imitate the babies' sounds and expressions and talk to them often. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins