Sex-related differences in vision are heterogeneous

Albulena Shaqiri, Maya Roinishvili, Lukasz Grzeczkowski, Eka Chkonia, Karin Pilz, Christine Mohr, Andreas Brand, Marina Kunchulia, Michael H. Herzog

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59 Citations (Scopus)
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Despite well-established sex differences for cognition, audition, and somatosensation, few studies have investigated whether there are also sex differences in visual perception. We report the results of fifteen perceptual measures (such as visual acuity, visual backward masking, contrast detection threshold or motion detection) for a cohort of over 800 participants. On six of the fifteen tests, males significantly outperformed females. On no test did females significantly outperform males. Given this heterogeneity of the sex effects, it is unlikely that the sex differences are due to any single mechanism. A practical consequence of the results is that it is important to control for sex in vision research, and that findings of sex differences for cognitive measures using visually based tasks should confirm that their results cannot be explained by baseline sex differences in visual perception.
Original languageEnglish
Article number7521
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 14 May 2018

Bibliographical note

We would like to thank Britt Anderson and Matt Pachai for their precious help on this manuscript. This work was supported by the National Centre of Competence in Research (NCCR) SYNAPSY of the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNF) and by the Velux Foundation.


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