Sex differences in visuomotor tracking

  • Mathew James
  • Masson Guillaume
  • Danion Frederic

ART

There is a growing interest in sex differences in human and animal cognition. However, empirical evidences supporting behavioral and neural sex differences in humans remain sparse. Visuomotor behaviors offer a robust and naturalistic empirical framework to seek for the computational mechanisms underlying sex biases in cognition. In a large group of human participants (N = 127), we investigated sex differences in a visuo-oculo-manual motor task that consists of tracking with the hand a target moving unpredictably. We report a clear male advantage in hand tracking accuracy. We tested whether men and women employ different gaze strategy or hand movement kinematics. Results show no key difference in these distinct visuomotor components. However, highly consistent differences in eye-hand coordination were evidenced by a larger temporal lag between hand motion and target motion in women. This observation echoes with other studies showing a male advantage in manual reaction time to visual stimuli. We propose that the male advantage for visuomotor tracking does not reside in a more reliable gaze strategy, or in more sophisticated hand movements, but rather in a faster decisional process linking visual information about target motion with forthcoming hand, but not eye, actions.