Why you should always tell a woman her parking is perfect... if you want her skills to improve
6 November 2011
For some men, keeping quiet while their wife is on her 17th attempt at reversing into a parking spot would not come naturally.
But research suggests that they might be better advised to bite their tongue – as lack of confidence is a factor in women’s tendency to struggle in tasks requiring spatial awareness.
Tests showed that women improved in these activities when their self-belief was given a boost.
University of Warwick psychology researcher Dr Zachary Estes, working with Dr Sydney Felker from the University of Georgia Health Centre, looked at the ability of 545 U.S. students to perform a standard 3D mental rotation task, while at the same time manipulating their confidence levels.
Dr Estes, whose research paper is published in the journal Archives Of Sexual Behaviour, said: ‘Prior research shows that women tend to do poorly on tasks that require spatial awareness.
‘That’s borne out in the common jokes we always hear about men being better at parking and map-reading than women.
‘But we wanted to see why that was so we manipulated people’s confidence in our experiments with spatial tasks, and it does seem that confidence is a key factor in how well women perform at this kind of task.’
He added: ‘Our research suggests that by making a woman feel better about herself, she’ll become better at spatial tasks – which in the real world means tasks such as parking the car or reading a map.
'So a little bit of confidence-boosting may go a long way when it comes to reversing the car into a tight parking spot.’