Sex differences in left/right confusion

Kirsten Jordan, Torsten Wüstenberg, Fern Jaspers-Feyer, Anja Fellbrich, Michael Peters*

*Corresponding author for this work
25 Citations (Scopus)


In agreement with the literature, females (n = 269) gave themselves significantly poorer ratings than males (n = 164) in evaluating their ability to make fast and accurate left/right judgments. In order to evaluate the ecological validity of the self-ratings, subjects were tested on a task that required fast and accurate left/right judgments, on a mental rotation task, and on a task that required navigation of a virtual maze. The correlations between the performances and self-ratings were computed. Both males and females who gave themselves very poor LRC (left/right confusion) ratings had significantly lower accuracy scores on the left/right judgement task than males and females with average ratings, but there was no sex-specific relation between LRC ratings and left/right judgements that would explain why females give themselves lower LRC ratings. For females only, a weak correlation between LRC scores and the learning of the virtual maze was observed, but no significant correlations were observed between LRC scores and mental rotation performance. We conclude that self-ratings on left/right confusion questions, although they yield reliable sex differences, are poor predictors of actual performance on spatial tasks that involve left/right judgements. Thus, and in support of earlier speculations (Sholl and Egeth, 1981; Teng and Lee, 1982; Williams et al., 1993), the principal cause of the marked sex differences in LRC self-ratings likely lies in a greater willingness of females to rate themselves more poorly on questions of this type than is the case for men.

Original languageEnglish
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)69-78
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 01.01.2006


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