Tuesday, 30 Jun, 2009 Science

Women Are Better at Pounding Nails than Men, at Least in the Light


At least once in their lifetime each man hammered a nail and at least once they hit their thumb. One of the obvious reasons is that men are simply not good at it, the other is that they are doing it when there's not enough light. According to the latest study women are better at hammering nails than men, but only in the broad light.

Scientists carried out an experiment in laboratory conditions and discovered that women hit the nail on the head more accurately and more often than men. However, when there's not enough illumination, men do it better.

In their study researchers used a mechanical plate that estimated force and accuracy. They arranged a number of targets on the plate, each target resembling a nail head and having a different size. "We filmed how subjects hammered, and how close the subject hammered to the target was an index of accuracy," said the led researcher of the study Duncan Irschick from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. He mentioned that on average men were nearly 25 percent more precise in the dark than the representatives of the opposite sex, but when study participants hit the targets in the light, researchers found that women were about 10 percent more accurate than men, reports MSNBC.

One of the reasons could be that women and men use different approaches to hitting the nails, meaning that men often rely on force while women on accuracy. "However, if this were true, men should always be less accurate than women, which is not what occurs," said the lead researcher.

Irschick found another explanation: the two sexes differently perceive objects in light and dark surroundings, which in its turn has an effect on motor control. The idea is rather provocative and it will require more study. "At this point, we don't have a good handle on the nature of the motor control and perceptive differences that would induce this difference, but we are excited to find out," he said. The study, funded by the National Institutes of Health, and its results were presented at the Society of Experimental Biology Annual Meeting that took place in Glasgow.

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