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Women Better Than Men with a Hammer

Research presented at the Experimental Biology annual meeting reveals that women may be more accurate than men at using a hammer in certain conditions. Christie Nicholson reports

[The following is an exact transcript of this podcast.]

We might think women are not as adept as men at wielding heavy tools, like say, hammers, according to popular stereotypes.

Turns out that women may have a leg up when it comes to hammering in certain situations. This was announced at the recent Experimental Biology annual meeting in Glasgow, Scotland.

Scientists measured the accuracy and force of men and women’s blows to a metal plate. They also tested their hammer style in rooms that were either brightly lit or pitch dark. (Glow-in-the-dark stickers marked the targets.)

Indeed they found that men struck twice as hard as the women. But women were 25 percent more accurate than men in well-lit conditions. Surprisingly both sexes were better than expected at hammering in the dark, although men had an advantage, with about 10 percent higher accuracy.

The researchers theorize that maybe men and women inherently use different strategies, putting more emphasis on either force or accuracy, respectively. But these are preliminary results. They intend to do further studies with larger sample sizes in different conditions.

But for now that old stereotype might need to be retooled.

—Christie Nicholson

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