Bucks Advent Calendar: Wednesday 6 December – which card would you choose?

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Date: 6th Dec 2017

Gloria Moss, Professor of Management and Marketing at Buckinghamshire New University, tested people’s preferences as between these two cards:

Which one do you prefer?Christmas cards

Research by Prof Moss, pictured below, across five countries found a statistically significant tendency for adults to prefer the design created by someone of their own sex, with men preferring the male-designed card on the right and women the female-designed card on the left.

Recently, in conjunction with Dr Gabor Horvath of South Wales University, a series of preference tests were run with 111 primary school children in Wales, using these designs and others. The results presented at the Design Management Academy Conference in Hong Kong this year showed a similarly high tendency for the children to prefer designs created by those of their own gender.

Prof Moss said: “Since those taking part in the preference tests knew nothing about the underlying focus on gender, responses reveal the workings of unconscious rather than conscious biases.

“How do these work? In my publications I point out that male and female design tendencies mirror differences firmly evidenced in psychology literature, for example men’s greater targeting and 3D accuracy, which is perhaps attributable to the fact that men’s eyes are spaced 5 millimetres further apart on average than women’s.Gloria Moss

“This can be added to women’s greater colour acuity, with up to 50 per cent of women, according to one study, having a fourth additional colour pigment giving access to hundreds of millions more colours than those available to men with three colour pigments. This differences may have evolved as adaptive mechanisms in the 99 per cent of human history when men occupied the role of hunters and women were gathers and managers and architects of the community.

“It seems that men and women, with their differing visuo-spatial skills - the biggest sex difference after height - do not always agree on what looks best. This then has major implications for the retail, furniture, fashion and manufacturing industries, with 83 per cent of purchases made by women and the majority of design and design management still in the hands of men.

“I have carried out years of research showing that what men and women create and prefer visually can be poles apart in terms of colour, shape and themes.

“So, I would urge that modern consumerism and the spiritual message of Christmas be reconciled through a selfless process of setting aside personal preferences, paying heed to gender preferences, and offering gifts that will have real appeal to another person.”

Prof Moss is the author of three books, more than 70 journal articles and conference papers and is a regular contributor to newspapers and other publications. Contact Prof Moss at Gloria.moss@bucks.ac.uk if you would like more information.

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