Female scientists may be more creative and ground-breaking than their male colleagues judging by the way they view abstract art, according to psychologists.
Experts tested scientists and non-scientists who were asked to look at a range of art works, classified as either "abstract" or "figurative".
Participants filled in questionnaires designed to explore art they preferred.
Analysis of the results revealed a "significant difference" in how male and female scientists responded to abstract art, said the University of Reading team.
Women seemed to prefer abstract works, such as Picasso's cubist paintings, and were more at ease with the moody or "affective" aspects of this kind of art.
Men, in contrast, were more drawn to realistic figurative artworks such as portraits and landscapes.
Researchers said women's responses were evidence of a "better balance between different ways of thinking".
In a report entitled 'How Scientists Look At Art', they wrote: "We might even speculate . . . that women scientists are more likely to be open to a more anarchic, creative and radical approach to science."
The study also found that common perceptions about the gap between science and the humanities were false. Overall, scientists and non-scientists regarded art in much the same way.