For the last blog in our pre-Bluedot series, we thought it was about time we shared with you all the fun that the ScienceGrrl team will be getting up to at the intergalactic festival this weekend….

Located in the Star Field under the stunning Lovell Telescope, festival-goers visiting the Science Grrl stand will be able to make their own brain hat, get hands on with MRI scans and mouse brains, and play a game of ‘true or false’ with research findings involving sex differences in the brain.

This year, the ScienceGrrl stand is right next to Women of Science, who will be sharing stories of women who work in, or study, Science and Engineering. As well as finding out about all sorts of STEM careers, you’ll also be able to take part in the Women of Science trail to be in with the chance of winning a prize!

What’s more, is that over the course of the weekend we will be conducting several live audience experiments to debunk gendered brain science myths – and you can all get involved!

Test your hand-eye coordination:

Designed to debunk the myth that men are better than women at reading maps, this experiment will explore spatial reasoning – the capacity an individual has to think about objects in three dimensions – and visual-motor coordination – how well you can coordinate vision and physical movement.

Using building blocks that can be assembled into different patterns, you will employ your spatial reasoning abilities to assemble the blocks to recreate a given pattern. The patterns that need to be recreated will be of varying difficulty – easy, medium and hard – and there will be set times in which you have to recreate these patterns in.

Using this experiment we can compare how long it takes men and women to assemble the different patterns. This will then reveal any differences (if there are any) in spatial reasoning and visual-motor coordination ability between the sexes.  

Test your multitasking:

Designed to debunk the myth that women are better at multitasking then men, the ScienceGrrl team will be investigating how performance changes when two different areas of the brain are engaged in one challenge.

The first part of the task is a simple word search. Experimental participants will have one minute to find how many times the word ‘bus’ appears in the word search. In the second part of the task there is another simple word search where participants will have another one minute to find how many times the word ‘sun’ appears… whilst counting backwards from 200! 

With the given word appearing 12 times in each word search, we’ll be able to compare scores from each task. This will enable the Science Grrl team to investigate how carrying out two different activities at the same time impacts performance, and how this differs between men and women.

We look forward to seeing you at Bluedot this weekend!

Dr Heather Williams
Heather helped establish ScienceGrrl in June 2012 and is ScienceGrrl's Director. Heather is a Senior Medical Physicist for Nuclear Medicine at Central Manchester University Hospitals and honorary Lecturer in the Centre for Imaging Sciences at Manchester University. She makes sure pictures of patients are top quality so the doctors can trust what they see, and tries out new and better ways of imaging the body’s functions. When she’s not working, Heather enjoys running, cycling and spending time with her sons.
Dr Heather Williams
Dr Heather Williams
Dr Heather Williams

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