The idea came about after the previous head of IKEA Germany said women were more efficient at assembling a flat pack, due to their attention and actually reading the instructions.
Putting this statement to the test, psychologists based at UiT The Arctic University of Norway recruited 80 university students (40 men and 40 women) to participate in their study.
Researchers measured not only how quickly each participant assembled the trolley, but also how accurately it was put together.
“The men were faster and more accurate in their construction of the trolley than the women. In terms of time taken, the men took 22.48 minutes with instructions, on average, and 24.80 mins without, compared with the women taking 23.65 minutes with instructions, on average, and 28.44 minutes without,” the publication reports.
“In terms of construction scores (from 1 to 10 where 10 represents a perfectly built trolley), men averaged 8.9 with instructions, 7.6 without; the women averaged 7.5 with, and 5.7 without. These differences in performance were despite the fact the men and women reported having similar levels of experience with furniture assembly.”
Before men are crowned king, it’s important to remember this was a very small sample size with a number of factors influencing the results. For example, the participants weren’t told it was a race, only that they had 30 minutes to complete the task.
“The paper simply states that the participants were asked to assemble the furniture as efficiently as possible, with a maximum of 30 minutes allowed.”