Conference paper

Gender differences in visual perception

Gender differences are well established in cognition and somato-sensation, but there are almost no studies on gender differences in visual perception. One reason is that sample size is often small because effect sizes are large. Small samples are not well suited to test for gender differences. Here, we tested 887 participants from 14 to 90 years old. We tested participants in visual and vernier acuity, visual backward masking and the Wisconsin Card Sorting Test (WCST). We found no gender differences in any of the four tests for younger participants (n = 358; 14–30 years old). Even in a subgroup of schizophrenia patients (n = 260), we did not find gender differences, but large performance deficits in patients compared to controls. For middle-aged participants (n = 170; 31–59 years old), men performed significantly better than women in all perceptual tests, even when we controlled for age. We also found better performance of men compared to women in vernier duration in older participants (n = 99; 60–90 years old) and trends in the same direction for the other tests. Hence, it may be that women’s performance deteriorates with age more strongly than men’s performance. We did not find any difference in WCST, indicating no gender differences for executive functions.


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