Daniel Kruger, research faculty at the University of Michigan School of Public Health, says it's perfectly natural that men often can't distinguish a sage sock from a beige sock or that sometimes women can't tell if the shoe department is due north or west from the escalator.
From an evolutionary perspective, it all harkens back to the skills that women used for gathering plant foods and the skills that men used for hunting meat. The contrast emerges because of the different foraging strategies for hunting and gathering used throughout human evolution.
Sex-specific strategies can be seen in the modern consumer environment, according to Kruger's new study, "Evolved foraging psychology underlies sex differences in shopping experiences and behaviors," scheduled for the December issue of the Journal of Social, Evolutionary, & Cultural Psychology.
The study examines shopping through the framework of evolutionary psychology to understand why so many more women enjoy spending a day picking through racks of clothes with friends, while most men can't get out of the mall fast enough.
So evolution creates the hunting and gathering strategies. Amazing. But there's more:
"We have evidence that the kind of skills, abilities and behaviors that are important for hunting and gathering in current foraging societies emerge predictably in our modern consumer environment," said Kruger, who decided to conduct the study after a winter holiday trip with friends across Europe.
After exploring sleepy little villages and reaching Prague, the first thing the women wanted to do was shop, Kruger said, and the men couldn't understand why.
"But that is not so unreasonable if you're thinking about a gathering strategy," Kruger said. "Anytime you come into a new area you want to scope out the landscape and find out where the food patches are."
So the shopping habits of women actually are not unreasonable after all. Thankfully evolutionists are enlightening the rest of us about these profound truths.