A fascinating study of how human spatial ability is dependent on age, wealth and gender has been published.
The researchers designed a mobile video game, ‘Sea Hero Quest’, to test spatial navigation ability in over 2.5 million people - sampling populations in every country throughout the world.
They found that:
- Spatial ability of the population of a country is correlated with economic wealth of that country.
- Gender inequality of a country is predictive of gender differences in navigation ability.
- Spatial ability declines across the adult lifespan.
In other words, the richer a country, the better its subjects can navigate; the greater the degree of inequality between males and females, the less is the females’ navigation ability compared with males; and navigation ability decreases with age.
The top 10 countries in spatial navigation ability are listed in the order: Finland, Denmark, New Zealand, Canada, Norway, United States, Australia, Netherlands, Sweden and the United Kingdom.
The report, Coutrot et al, ‘Global Determinants of Navigation Ability’ was published in Current Biology on 9 August 2018. It can be found at www.cell.com