Men relate better to home appliances

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The Independent Online

Men are generally better than women at fixing everyday household items, says a university study. However, researchers believe that this stereotypical divide is unlikely to endure as Western societies become increasingly technically minded.

Men are generally better than women at fixing everyday household items, says a university study. However, researchers believe that this stereotypical divide is unlikely to endure as Western societies become increasingly technically minded.

Researchers from the University of Memphis, Tennessee found that when faced with broken objects such as dishwashers, temperature gauges and toasters, men asked far more relevant questions and were quicker to identify the problem than women, regardless of their technical ability.

The study, presented at the conference, found that although women asked more questions, these were less relevant to finding a solution. Even women assessed as having the same technical ability as men in the 100-person sample asked 35 per cent fewer relevant questions. Men made 30 per cent more statements about a problem, which were not always accurate but suggested greater confidence or social pressure.

But the authors say differences between male and female capacity to fix mechanical objects are likely to shrink away. "The computer revolution has embedded all sorts of technology as fundamental to everyday life," said Arthur Graesser, professor of psychology and computer science, and co-author of the study.

"Education and the normality of having machines around us will break down the gender differences," he said.

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