A new study shows that boosting a woman’s confidence helps her to improve at spatial tasks, such as parking and map reading.

While past studies suggest that women are slower and less accurate with spatial skills than men, scientists from the University of Warwick carried out new research that reveals a women’s level of confidence plays a key role in their ability to perform spatial tasks.

“Prior research shows that women tend to do poorly on tasks that require spatial awareness,” said Psychology researcher Dr. Zachary Estes.

“But we wanted to see why that was, so we manipulated people’s confidence in our experiments with spatial tasks, and it does seem that confidence is a key factor in how well women perform at this kind of task”

Dr. Estes and Dr. Sydney Felker from the University of Georgia Health Center observed 545 female students as they performed four standard 3D mental rotation task as scientist manipulated their confidence levels.

The researchers found that when they made women feel more confident about themselves, their ability to perform the task improved.

“Our research suggests that by making a woman feel better about herself, she’ll become better at spatial tasks – which in the real world means tasks such as parking the car or reading a map,” said Estes.

“So a little bit of confidence-boosting may go a long way when it comes to reversing the car into a tight parking spot,” he said

The full study, Confidence Mediates the Sex Difference in Mental Rotation Performance can be found in the journal Archives of Sexual Behavior.