Are men or women better at map reading?

Map reading has to be one of the most popular causes of arguments on long journeys.

I, for one, admit to not being the best map reader. And yes, over the years, this has caused a few ‘disagreements’ although I still maintain that it’s necessary to turn a map upside down if that means it’s pointing the same direction as the way you’re heading.

A few female friends of mine agree with this, although I’m yet to find a man who does – or at least one who is willing to admit that he does.

So what’s the reason for men and women disagreeing so much about the best way of reading a map and is there a definitive answer as to who does it better?

According to a study carried out last year at the University of Utah, the answer can be found by looking at two African tribes – and apparently it all comes down to mating!

The study found evidence that men evolved better navigational ability than women because men with better spatial skills were able to roam further and have children with more mates.

The researchers tested and interviewed dozens of members of the Twe and Tjimba tribes in northwest Namibia and concluded that not only did men perform far better than women but they also travelled more often and further distances. The men who did better on spatial tasks travelled further than other men and had more children with more women.

I’m not entirely convinced this study gives us a conclusive answer as to who is better at map reading but it might just give us something to discuss on our next long journey. And that has got to be better than arguing over the map.

Do you and your partner argue over map reading?
I’d love to know what you think. Let me know at


Editor – One More Second