Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Why Women Shop

The human mind evolved to solve an entirely different set of problems than those it faces in the modern world.

This simple but startling truth affects everything around us, from the colors we prefer to the ways we like to spend our leisure time. Take shopping, for example.

As reported in the Economist, researchers have come up with a possible evolutionary explanation of why women like to shop more than men, why women like the color pink more than men, and why men are better at spacial orientation via landmarks than women (somebody tell my wife, please). It all has to do with the ancestral division of labor: men hunted things that moved around a lot, women gathered food from stationary locations.

As a result, the male brain evolved orienting skill, and the female brain evolved the skill to recall the precise location of a food source, probably some kind of fruit. Since a lot of fruit is colored on the red end of the spectrum, the female brain evolved a preference for those colors.

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