Sex Differences in Spatial Memory: Comparison of Three Tasks Using the Same Virtual Context
Cicco, Carmen Di
Cimadevilla, José Manuel
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Spatial memory has been studied through different instruments and tools with different modalities of administration. The cognitive load varies depending on the measure used and it should be taken into account to correctly interpret results. The aim of this research was to analyze how men and women perform three different spatial memory tasks with the same spatial context but with different cognitive demands. A total of 287 undergraduate students from the University of Almeria (Spain) and the University of L’Aquila (Italy) participated in the study. They were divided into three groups balanced by sex according to the spatial memory test they performed: the Walking Space Boxes Room Task (WSBRT), the Almeria Spatial Memory Recognition Test (ASMRT) and the Non-Walking Space Boxes Room Task (NWSBRT). Time spent and number of errors/correct answers were registered for analysis. In relation to the WSBRT and the ASMRT, men were faster and reached the optimal level of performance before women. In the three tests, familiarity with the spatial context helped to reduce the number of errors, regardless of the level of difficulty. In conclusion, sex differences were determined by the familiarity with the spatial context, the difficulty level of the task, the active or passive role of the participant and the amount of visual information provided in each screen shot.