Do men react faster than women? Apparently they do although their wives and partners may well say they spend so much time playing online games or sport on TV. Experiments have shown that men have faster reaction times than women. The results were surprising as men and women usually perform equally well in the battle of the sexes lab tests of mental ability.

Researchers say they had not expected to find a difference in the time needed to say whether black or white bars on a screen were moving to the left or to the right. While both sexes were good, requiring a tenth of a second or less, women took between 25 to 75 per cent longer than men to respond to usual signals.

Until now the only differences had been that women perform better in verbal ability tests, while men were usually stronger at spatial awareness tasks. However, the US researchers say that the faster perception of motion by males may not necessarily reflect better visual processing. They say similar performance enhancements in the tasks have been observed in people who have been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) or depression, and in older individuals.

They believe processes in the brain that down-regulate neural activity are disruptive in these conditions and may also be weaker in males. Study co-author Professor Scott Murray of the University of Washington said: ‘We were very surprised. There is very little evidence for sex differences in low-level visual processing, especially differences as large as these we found in our studies.’

In their findings, published in the journal Current Biology, researchers say they hope further studies will help them discover the underlying differences in the brain that may help explain the discrepancy between the sexes.

Interesting so far, but not conclusive… We must wait for further studies to get to the bottom of a noticeable discrepancy before we come to any final judgement.

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