Say you’re with your girlfriend walking along the park where you both get tired and sit opposite each other. A beautiful lady suddenly appeared on your girlfriend’s left without her realizing and you gaze her for a bit without making eye contact or anything suspicious. Then your girlfriend said “Why are you looking at her?” without her – your girlfriend – even looking, peeking or rolling her eyeballs to the left just to give her a glance. Then you responded “No, I wasn’t” with her retorting back “Yes you are! She’s not as pretty as I am though…” And then you wonder how did she even see that? The answer to this question stemmed years ago – probably even before Christ or the Ice Age.
When I was in a Catholic School, there was one favorite priest who lectured a homily that I have never forgotten up to this day and it goes like this:
“Men are hunters. Women are cave-protectors.”
During the beginning of mankind, men and women have caves as their shelter. At daylight, the man goes out searching food. With improvised wooden spears binded by fiber knots, they went out in the wild to hunt for meat. Upon sight of a prey, their eyes lock the target hence the tunnel vision. Raising their spears silently, their minds focus on only one goal – to kill the prey – and with arm coordination, the spear is thrown on the prey’s body.
Women, on the other hand, are left in the cave to take care of their little ones. Most caves naturally have semi-circle openings, so she has to guard the cave entrance and make sure no harmful of any kind, be it snakes, tigers or lizards, sneak their way beyond her. To defend the entryway, she has to maintain the 180 degrees surveillance of the cave hence the peripheral vision. Even if she does not gaze the predator directly, she can be able to see them through her wide eyes.
As humanity progressed, men may have believed that women probably have eyes in the back of their heads or may have eyes on the side. Even in our own households, you may have noticed that your mother or your sister seemed to know where to look for things you’ve been looking for hours or days. This is the effect of women’s developed peripheral vision where their eyes have more of the receptor rods and cones in the retina, at the back of the eyeball, to receive a wider arc of visual input.
With men’s tunnel vision, they can identify cars in front that seemed a kilometer away from them yet they fail to see traffic spots on their side, leading to accidents. Also, men can have difficulty locating things at close range like keys, eyeglasses or wallets where in fact they’re in front of them or inside them.
This is also part of the reason why women can multi-task while man can only focus on single tasks at a time. Woman’s brain has 10% more connecting cords between the left and right lobes and up to 30% more connections than man. By this alone, you may notice that women tend to do several completely unrelated things at once, like walking, talking and applying make-up, but never gets disengaged at each task.
Men, on the other hand, has compartmentalised brains, which attributes to them being concentrated on one thing at a time. That’s why if they’re frying an egg and you talk to them, the egg may get burned and toasted after. So the next time you look at other girls with your girlfriend, keep in mind that she can see you looking even if she doesn’t tilt her head. Good thing she’s always busy with Facebook and Instagram. Cheers!
- Editor. “Peripheral Vision” Inside The Brain, 16 May 2015 (link)
- Maslen, Cherry. “Do men and women speak different languages?” Dailymail UK (link)
- Columbia. “Male vs Female: The Brain Differences” Columbia Edu (link)
- Moir, Anne and Jessel, David. “Excerpts from Brain Sex” Dell Publishing, 1992 (link)