Culture and ‘Spatial Intelligence’


Wall Street Journal, September 09, 2011


Men tend do better than women on tests of spatial intelligence (though you have to watch your tone when you point this out, as the former Harvard president Larry Summers learned). But would the difference persist in a world of educational and professional equality? Or—if women ruled?

Researchers administered four-piece jigsaw puzzles to nearly 1,300 members of two closely related tribes in Northeast India with little to no experience with such puzzles. The twist: One tribe, the Khasi, was matrilineal: Property descends through the youngest daughter and men are forbidden to own land. The other, the Karbi, is patrilineal.

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