Gender Vision Differences: Men and Women don’t see Eye To Eye


According to a conducted study, it is a fact that the way women and men see things are quite different. Researchers from Brooklyn and Hunter Colleges of the City University of New York compared the vision of men and women aged over 16 from both college and high school, including students and staff. All volunteers were required to have normal color vision and 20/20 sight. Participants were asked to describe colors shown to them. To measure their contrast-sensitivity functions of vision, the participants were also asked whether light and dark bars they saw were horizontal or vertical. Images appeared to flicker when light and dark bars alternated. It seems reasonable to conclude that male-female differences in basic sensory capacities are adaptive.

Inferences from the Research

In the brain, there are high concentrations of male hormone receptors throughout cerebral cortex, especially in the visual cortex which is responsible for processing images. Men could detect quick-changing details from afar, and could track thinner, faster-flashing bars within a bank of blinking lights. The team associates this evolutionary advantage down to neuron development in the visual cortex, which is boosted by male hormones. Testosterone means that males are born with 25% more neurons in this brain region than women.

In one part of the study, the researchers asked the volunteers to describe different colors shown to them. They found that the men required a slightly longer wavelength of a color to experience the same shade as women, and the men were less able to tell the difference between hues. Longer wavelengths are associated with warmer colors, implying that colors like orange might appear redder to a man than a woman. Likewise, green appears a bit yellower to men than women. Men are also less adept at distinguishing among the shades in the center of the color spectrum, like blues, greens, and yellows.

The researchers also showed the participants images made up of light and dark bars that varied in width and alternated in color so that they appeared to flicker, a measure of participants’ sensitivity to contrast. Compared with the women, the male volunteers were better able to identify the more rapidly changing images made up of thinner bars. The findings support the hunter-gatherer hypothesis, which states that the sexes evolved distinct psychological abilities to fit their roles in prehistoric society. The advantage would have allowed males to detect predators or prey from afar, and identify as well as categorize these objects more easily. Female gatherers may have become better adapted at recognizing static objects like wild berries. So the conclusion of the research is that biological evolution and adaptation has differentiated the vision among the two genders.