Sex differences in navigation in a tabletop octagon navigation task

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Fida, Mashal
University of Lethbridge. Faculty of Arts and Science
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Lethbridge, Alta. : Universtiy of Lethbridge, Department of Neuroscience
The Morris water task (MWT) is a test of spatial learning and memory commonly used in research on spatial cognition. From this research it is clear that the hippocampus is necessary for accurate navigation and that sex differences exist. Most often, a virtual MWT is used with humans. In our previous study, we found that men use an allocentric spatial frame of reference to guide locomotion, but women use an egocentric spatial frame of reference. Therefore, we designed allocentric and egocentric tabletop versions of the MWT, called the Octagon Navigation Task to study the use of these spatial frameworks. Men outperformed women in the allocentric condition. Women outperformed men in the egocentric condition. No sex differences were found in the neutral condition, which allowed the use of either spatial reference frameworks to navigate. Together, these results suggest that sex differences in spatial navigation result from different prepotent spatial frameworks guiding performance.
Space perception -- Sex differences -- Research , Geographical perception -- Sex differences -- Research , Orientation (Physiology) , Brain -- Sex differences -- Research , Hippocampus -- Sex differences -- Research , Navigation -- Sex differences -- Research , allocentric , egocentric , sex difference , spatial navigation