This study examines the relationship between map drawing skills and spatial orientation abilities. Ninety-six students (48 males and 48 females) from the University of Rome “La Sapienza” studied an adapted map of the archeological site of the Palatine Hill. Then, participants were asked to draw a map and to perform some spatial orientation tasks tapping landmark, route and survey knowledge. Results showed a strong relationship among various map drawing skills and spatial orientation abilities. However, such a relationship was more marked in males than in females. In addition, males needed less time to learn the map, were more accurate than females in map drawing, and showed higher levels of performance on road drawing. Overall, these gender differences can be interpreted as deriving from the use of different map learning strategies: males approach the map from a global perspective and whereas females focus on local features.
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