Men aren’t able to listen and women can’t park a car. And that’s okay – after all, everything has its biological reasons. Such theories turn books into bestsellers and films into blockbusters.
But what’s the reality here? Neuroscientist Daniel Goldreich, who specialises in tactile experiences, has investigated a classic platitude: that women have a finer sense of touch, or put another way, more sensitive fingertips.
Nature provides humans of a comparable age with the same number of nerve cells in their fingertips, no matter if they are male or female. No one is at a disadvantage merely because of his or her gender. Nevertheless, there are differences. Fact is, these highly-sensitive cells are situated more closely together on small fingers than on large fingers: the same number of cells is spread out on a smaller skin surface. Small fingers therefore can feel finer structures and send more detailed images to the brain.
So even though the study confirmed that women have on average a better sense of touch, this is explained by the fact that their fingers are, on average, smaller. Consequently, Goldreich has not only shed light on the mystery of women’s sensitive fingertips. He has also rescued the honour of small-handed men.
Therefore, by all pending tactile decisions, such as the fabric of a new sofa or the steering-wheel-touch-test before buying a car, you should first check who, among the respective decision-makers, has the smaller hands. And should you value tactile sensitivity when it comes to men, take a very close look at their fingers.