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Factors mediating the sex difference observed In targeting tasks

Targeting is a skill that involves the accurate projection of an object to a target; this requires accurate integration of visual information with spatial and motor skills. Targeting tasks demonstrate a consistent male advantage. Contrary to popular belief, this male advantage is not accounted for by participants throwing experience or their size. The factors that mediate or account for the sex difference observed in targeting accuracy have not yet been identified. This dissertation addresses issues following from two prominent theories that attempt to explain this sex difference. The first theory proposes that the male advantage on targeting accuracy is due to the tasks proxemic and/or motoric characteristics, whereas the second theory proposes that the sex difference in targeting accuracy is due to differential exposure to androgenic or estrogenic sex hormone concentrations. The first and second studies in this dissertation follow from the first theory, examining whether changing the motoric or proxemic characteristics of targeting tasks will mediate the sex difference. The third study is related to the second theory; it examines the relations among direct and indirect measures of prenatal and circulating sex hormone concentrations and targeting accuracy within samples of men and women. Collectively the results from studies 1 and 2 indicate that the proxemic and motoric characteristics are related to the sex difference on targeting tasks; specifically, targeting tasks must involve only fine motor movements and be performed in intrapersonal space in order for the male advantage to be negated.<p>The results from study 3 indicate that men who were exposed to relatively high prenatal testosterone concentrations and continue to have relatively high circulating testosterone concentrations perform less accurately on targeting tasks than do all other groups of men. The results from study 3 also indicate that women exposed to relatively high prenatal testosterone concentrations target significantly more accurately than women that were exposed to relatively low prenatal testosterone concentrations. As well, the results showed that women who use oral contraceptives target significantly more accurately when they are not currently taking the exogenous estrogen supplements (menstrual phase) than when they are taking the supplements (midluteal phase). These results are discussed in light of the two prominent theories explaining the sex difference in targeting accuracy. A synthesized theory is proposed, and directions for future research are discussed.

Identiferoai:union.ndltd.org:LACETR/oai:collectionscanada.gc.ca:SSU.etd-09212006-104716
Date21 September 2006
CreatorsSykes Tottenham, Laurie
ContributorsSaucier, Deborah M., Sarty, Gordon E., Nicholson, Karen, Gutwin, Carl, Elias, Lorin J., Borowsky, Ron, Binsted, Gordon, Vrbancic, Mirna
PublisherUniversity of Saskatchewan
Source SetsLibrary and Archives Canada ETDs Repository / Centre d'archives des thèses électroniques de Bibliothèque et Archives Canada
LanguageEnglish
Detected LanguageEnglish
Typetext
Formatapplication/pdf
Sourcehttp://library.usask.ca/theses/available/etd-09212006-104716/
Rightsunrestricted, I hereby certify that, if appropriate, I have obtained and attached hereto a written permission statement from the owner(s) of each third party copyrighted matter to be included in my thesis, dissertation, or project report, allowing distribution as specified below. I certify that the version I submitted is the same as that approved by my advisory committee. I hereby grant to University of Saskatchewan or its agents the non-exclusive license to archive and make accessible, under the conditions specified below, my thesis, dissertation, or project report in whole or in part in all forms of media, now or hereafter known. I retain all other ownership rights to the copyright of the thesis, dissertation or project report. I also retain the right to use in future works (such as articles or books) all or part of this thesis, dissertation, or project report.

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