Sex Differences on the Go/No-Go Test of Inhibition


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Springer Verlag

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Parental investment theory suggests that women, due to greater investment in child rearing, can be more choosy than men when considering a potential mate. A corollary to this is that women should possess greater inhibition abilities compared to men in contexts related to sex and reproduction. This notion has found support from the inhibition literature demonstrating that while women do indeed show greater inhibition on tasks that include a social aspect, no such effect is found on cognitive tasks that do not possess a social component. In the present experiment, participants (N = 66) performed a variant of a classic Go/No-Go task consisting of infrequent No-Go trials in which a response needed to be withheld. Importantly, the stimuli were geometric shapes possessing no social component. Results showed that women outperformed men on the No-Go trials, indicating greater inhibition. No significant difference was found in reaction time on Go trials. Thus, the results cannot be explained in terms of a speed/accuracy trade-off. We discuss the findings in the context of the female-evolved inhibition hypothesis.




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