Supplementary material from "Testing the greater male variability phenomenon: male mountain chickadees exhibit larger variation in reversal learning performance compared with females"

Published on 2020-07-08T17:23:36Z (GMT) by
The greater male variability phenomenon predicts that males exhibit larger ranges of variation in cognitive performance compared with females; however, support for this pattern has come exclusively from studies of humans and lacks mechanistic explanation. Furthermore, the vast majority of the literature assessing sex differences in cognition is based on studies of humans and a few other mammals. In order to elucidate the underpinnings of cognitive variation and the potential for fitness consequences, we must investigate sex differences in cognition in non-mammalian systems as well. Here, we assess the performance of male and female food-caching birds on a spatial learning and memory task and a reversal spatial task to address whether there are sex differences in mean cognitive performance or in the range of variation in performance. For both tasks, male and female mean performance was similar across four years of testing; however, males did exhibit a wider range of variation in performance on the reversal spatial task compared with females. The implications for mate choice and sexual selection of cognitive abilities are discussed and future directions are suggested to aid in the understanding of sex-related cognitive variation.

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Branch, Carrie L.; Sonnenberg, Benjamin R.; Pitera, Angela M.; Benedict, Lauren M.; Kozlovsky, Dovid Y.; Bridge, Eli S.; et al. (2020): Supplementary material from "Testing the greater male variability phenomenon: male mountain chickadees exhibit larger variation in reversal learning performance compared with females". The Royal Society. Collection. https://doi.org/10.6084/m9.figshare.c.5044127.v2