The MythBusters The MythBusters

MythBusters Episode 201: Battle of the Sexes: Round 2

Premier Date: May 29, 2013

Men are better at throwing a ball than women.


Adam and Jamie enlisted male and female volunteers from each of four age groups: 7-, 12-, 18- and 24-year-olds. In the initial test, which involved throwing tennis balls at a target, the females threw more accurately than the males, but not as fast. This test was repeated in a motion capture studio to analyze the subjects’ body movement while throwing. Adam and Jamie noted that the females tended keep their bodies upright while throwing, while the males leaned forward and rotated more, more closely resembling the movement of a professional baseball pitcher. In the final test, in which the subjects were instructed to throw with their non-preferred hand, the males threw more accurately but not as fast, a reversal of the first results. Additionally, all subjects, regardless of gender, showed the same form when using their non-preferred hands. This suggested that the males had learned their normal throwing form from cultural training and did not possess an innate advantage. In light of these results, the MythBusters declared this myth busted.

Women are better at multitasking than men.


The Build Team devised a “morning routine” test where volunteers were given five minutes to get out of bed, iron clothes, get dressed, and make breakfast and lunch while also answering three trivia questions over the phone and babysitting a robotic baby. Each test subject began with a base score of 100, with deductions for failed or incomplete tasks. Ten women achieved an average score of 72, while ten men averaged 64.

Men do not ask for directions as often as women when they get lost.


Adam and Jamie set up a test where each volunteer was instructed to follow a set of directions that included an intentional misdirection at an intersection. The drivers did not have access to maps or GPS systems. More volunteers were secretly stationed outside in the surrounding area, to serve as targets whom the drivers could ask for directions. Ten men and ten women took the test, and nine people from each gender stopped to ask for directions. The tiebreaker was the fact that the men spent an average of 4:11 driving before asking for directions, while the women spent an average of 5:11 before asking, busting the myth.

Women are better at parallel parking than men.


Kari and Tory judged as ten men and ten women attempted to parallel park in a tight spot. Each participant started with a score of 100 and deductions were made for not centering the car properly, not being a legal distance from the curb, bumping into other cars, and any corrections or reattempts. The men had relatively consistent scores and averaged 43.6 points. The women averaged 42.5 points with some good scores and some awful scores. This result was a statistical tie, so the myth was busted.

Women are better at observing details than men.


In a replication of the Simons-Chabris invisible gorilla test (designed to measure inattentional blindness), ten men and ten women volunteers were shown a video of two three-man teams passing basketballs and were told to count the number of times a white team member passed a basketball, but the true objective was to see if the subjects could spot a zombie (Kari in a costume) walking through the scene. Only one man and two women were able to do so successfully, leading the Build Team to call the myth plausible.

Also see the original Battle of the Sexes