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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Spatial ability explains the male advantage in approximate arithmetic

  • Author(s): Wei, W
  • Chen, C
  • Zhou, X
  • et al.

© 2016 Wei, Chen and Zhou. Previous research has shown that females consistently outperform males in exact arithmetic, perhaps due to the former's advantage in language processing. Much less is known about gender difference in approximate arithmetic. Given that approximate arithmetic is closely associated with visuospatial processing, which shows a male advantage we hypothesized that males would perform better than females in approximate arithmetic. In two experiments (496 children in Experiment 1 and 554 college students in Experiment 2), we found that males showed better performance in approximate arithmetic, which was accounted for by gender differences in spatial ability.

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