There are a plethora of studies that investigate the performance of the Virtual Water Maze between adolescents and young adults. The present findings demonstrate sex differences on the Virtual Water Maze. Although other studies have suggested that males outperform females on spatial navigation tasks (Woolley et al., 2010), this current study showed different results. There was no significant main effect of sex differences, yet there was a significant sex x cue interaction. Although there was no significant main effect of sex differences, each sex performed better under different conditions. The females performed better under the treatment condition, and the males performed better under the control condition. Ultimately, these findings indicate a significant crossover interaction. These findings do not suggest that male or female have better results because the results were mixed.
Although male and females have a few structural differences in the brain that can affect behavior, specifically completing spatial tasks; research regarding sex differences between them are still inadequately defined (Eliot, 2011). For instance, male brains are more likely to aid connectivity with coordinated action and perception, while female brains are more likely to aid communication with critical thinking and intuitive process modes.
There were some weaknesses in this study, and they may have affected the results. Although 12 of each sex and age and age group were tested (each condition), a large effect was detected. Since there was not a large sample selected, the study was limited. Cognition may have skewed the results, as well. The applied treatment may have affected the results because of the reward that was received. As a reward for participating in this study, each student received extra credit in their local psychology class. Whereas adolescents and young adults who were really interested in this study did participate, those who may have needed the extra credit to boost their grade may not have been really interested in this experiment and probably did not put in that much effort.
Additionally, individual participant effort of the Virtual Water Maze was not able to be controlled. Yes, the performance of the participants was timed, but it is not certain that all participants tried to find the platform in a timely manner. Consequently, some trials may have taken an extremely long time, while others may have been completed in an efficient manner.