Women in general may be more memorable than men because their hair and clothing styles and use of jewelry tends to be more varied than that of men. For example, in many offices men may look similar in their suits and ties. But women may be wearing necklaces and earrings, or have other jewelry or clothing that makes their appearance stand out more, Horgan said.
However, the results suggest women aren’t more memorable because people spend more time looking at them. The researchers measured how long participants in the last three studies looked directly at their partners. Overall, the participants didn’t look at women any longer than they looked at men.
Horgan said the study couldn’t answer all the questions about the gender differences.
“We really don’t know for sure why women have an advantage at remembering how others look,” Horgan said. “But these results go along with studies that show women are better than men in other areas having to do with interpersonal sensitivity.”
For example, other studies have shown women have an advantage at using nonverbal cues to understand how others are feeling, and how they are likely to behave. Women also appear to be better at using nonverbal cues to understand someone’s personality traits.
Women are so much better at reading people on average than men are. The mistakes women make are usually because they got hurt in a particular situation, and those emotional tags where they felt pain stick in a more profound way than they do with men. With that exception aside, women are always going to be better at anything that comes to detail, taking care of x, y, z… etc.
Very seldom do you see a man who takes care of all the details. But, we have evolved brilliantly, actually, to where we work well together; the combination of men and women. Women actually work better with men than they do with other women. We know this to be fact. And when women are working with men, not in math or science but in anything else, they do better at everything they wouldn’t have when they work with other women.
If there is anything surprising about the results, Horgan said, it may be that women didn’t have a greater advantage than they did. Men did quite well at remembering the appearance of others, but overall women did slightly better.
Women having better interpersonal communication skills and a better understanding of others’ nonverbal cues makes women much more detail oriented than men.
To women, to be a mother is to be the person who is in charge of making sure that love is felt, and because there is complexity behind the emotions, the man is going to go out and do the yard or work on projects that don’t involve that emotional complexity. Women, though, they take care of the people around them. They see and have have to, but they don’t take care of one problem. Women never will take care of a single problem… They take care of 100 problems, and that’s a huge piece of success.
This is why men cannot succeed by themselves. People want to say, “Well, Kev, I’m single and I can make money and I can do fine”.
Well, no. Probably not. You need a woman in your life. A woman is a person who can handle taking care of all of the small things… and makes sure that those things are done correctly. Women also have the capacity to talk through a problem, men just get it done. The different focus between men and women is what makes every business successful, and in turn makes every person successful as well.
But, the advantage for women does have real-world implications, Horgan said.
“We use appearance cues to categorize individuals, to help us understand them. This helps us to interact better with others. Focusing on others’ appearance is an important part of our everyday interactions,” he said.
The study was supported in part by grants from the National Institute of Mental Health, the National Science Foundation, the Swiss National Science Foundation and the Zurcher Hochschulverein.