Men are better at assembling flat pack furniture - especially without instructions - than women, a new report says, contrary to claims made by the head of Ikea.
Psychologists in Norway decided to test the assertions made in 2008 by Petra Hesser, head of Ikea in Germany that women are better than men at assembling flat-pack furniture because they read the instructions carefully.
While women do appear to read the instructions more than men, it was men who performed the task faster and more accurately.
Scientists at UiT The Arctic University of Norway in Tromso tested 40 men and 40 women, all students, on how quickly and accurately they could construct a kitchen trolley.
Half the group had to build the trolley with instructions, and half without.
All reported having similar levels of experience with furni- ture assembly.
Men took on average one minute less than women to build the trolley with instructions (22.48 minutes compared with 23.65 minutes). And they took on average four minutes less than women to do so without any instructions (24.80 minutes compared with 28.44).
So women appeared to benefit more than men from having instructions, said the psychologists, since they sped up by about 4.5 minutes when using them while men sped up by about one minute.
The researchers said that, accounting for all factors, women's performance with instructions was almost as good as men's performance without.