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Jibes hamper women's driving skills

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Female drivers may enjoy typically cheaper car insurance premiums than men, but research suggests they fare worse behind the wheel when they are the butt of sexist jokes.

Psychologists from the University of Warwick and the University of Georgia discovered that confidence-knocking jokes are likely to hamper a woman's driving abilities, yet they drive better when they receive encouragement.

The researchers examined 500 US-based college students while they performed several spatial tasks, which men are thought to better in.

They discovered that women were more than equal to their male counterparts when carrying out one task after being given praise, even though the task was supposed to favour men.

The researchers also noted that female drivers did not do as well as men when they were asked to monitor their confidence levels, but they were every bit as good as the opposite sex when left to get on with the task.

The findings were published in the American journal Archives of Sexual Behaviour.

© Press Association 2011