“Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus.” It’s not only the title of a popular book written in 1992, it is also a common adage used to describe the purported differences between how men and women experience and navigate the world. But do men and women really experience the world all that differently? According to research published in the journal Biology of Sex Differences, they really do. A large review of scientific literature found that for the most part, women have better overall hearing and a stronger sense of smell then men and according to a recent study men and women also experience differences in visual perception capabilities.
Vision and Good Health
The researchers of this study compared the vision of high school and college students and staff, all of whom were aged 17 or older. The participants all had normal color vision and 20/20 eyesight, (although some of the participants required contact lenses or eyeglasses in order to achieve 20/20 results). When the participants were asked to describe colors that they were shown, the researchers found that the females were better able to decipher colors and the males required a slightly longer wavelength in order to experience the same hue as the women. The men also had a harder time discriminating between different variations of color. Although the women had an enhanced perception of color, the males came out ahead when it came to the perception of rapidly moving objects and deciphering small details.
According to Professor Israel Abramov, who led this study: “As with other senses, such as hearing and the olfactory system, there are marked sex differences in vision between men and women. The elements of vision we measured are determined by inputs from specific sets of thalamic neurons into the primary visual cortex. We suggest that, since these neurons are guided by the cortex during embryogenesis, that testosterone plays a major role, somehow leading to different connectivity between males and females. The evolutionary driving force between these differences is less clear.”
What This Means for Natural Health
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Although there are small difference between the sexes when it comes to visual perception, one’s gender has little to do with the maintenance of visual capabilities. If you want to maintain your eyesight, you should shield your eyes from UV rays with sunglasses and actively maintain a state of physical good health. Physical good health is not the only type of health that is important for visual perception; good health of the mental realm is also important. According to a study conducted at Albert Ludwig University of Freiburg, Germany, the differences found between the visual perceptions of the mentally healthy versus the visual perceptions of the depressed, may be far greater than the visual differences found between males and females. The researchers of this study found that severe depression causes a reduced ability to perceive contrast in color, resulting in a perception of the world that appears ‘more gray,’ not just metaphorically but also literally.
Natural health professionals have long understood the interconnection between good mental and good physical health and according to natural health professionals two of the best ways to maintain good health (both physical and mental) and consequently good vision, is to exercise regularly and consume a wholesome diet that is chocked full of fruits and vegetables. These two suggestions are important because they help to prevent diabetes, which is a leading cause of eye degeneration and blindness. This type of diet will also provide you with ample vitamins and antioxidants; both of which have been found to prevent, or at least slow down, age-related conditions like cataracts and macular degeneration.