SEX, SPACE and EVOLUTION
The parallel map theory (Jacobs & Schenk, 2003) offers a precise framework to understand mechanisms of cognitive sex differences in spatial cognition – in voles, mice, kangaroo rats and humans. In these polygamous species, females prefentially use information from positional cues, males from directional cues. Different bodies, different minds – variation in the masculinization of the digit ratio in women – the relative length of the index and ring fingers on the dominant hand, a proposed biomarker of fetal exposure to androgens – correlated with directional cue orientation. Natural space use patterns correlate with species and sex differences in relative hippocampal size in wild voles and kangaroo rats.
Jacobs LF, Gaulin SJ, Sherry DF, Hoffman GE (1990) Evolution of spatial cognition: sex-specific patterns of spatial behavior predict hippocampal size. Proc National Acad Sci 87:6349–6352. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.87.16.6349 PDF