Monday, December 22, 2014
Girls gain higher marks than boys in the Leaving Certificate exams. Women are better at ‘multi-tasking’, and their intuitive faculties, it’s claimed, are superior to men’s. When it comes to ‘spatial ability’, however, males are judged the better performers.
Are these differences inherited or are cultural factors responsible for them? Do males and females of other species have differing cognitive skills?
Measuring such traits in the wild is exceedingly difficult but researchers in Sweden have done so for one of our common garden birds. They claim that female great tits have better memories than their male counterparts.
The great tit, found throughout Europe and Asia, is probably the most extensively studied bird in the world. Although sometimes confused with its smaller cousin the blue tit, the great tit is distinctively marked.
The crown is jet black and both sexes wear elegant black bibs, the male’s merging into a line down the breast and belly.
The rhythmic ‘chee-ou chee-ou chee-ou’ song is a familiar sound of spring. Intelligent and resourceful, these denizens of suburban gardens woodland and scrub sometimes use pine needles as tools to rake in food items out of reach.