3.2 Gender and cognitive styles
Cognitive style plays a large part in the way we use and see diagrams. As a generalisation, men tend to prefer linear processes with clear cause and effect while women tend to prefer associative logic and situations where cause and effect are less clear. Similarly, men tend to use exclusive, either/or thinking which can be developed into matrices or algorithms while women are more likely to use inclusive modes of thought, disliking either/or scenarios and are more comfortable than men with parallel or multiple processes.
Both the clarity and linearity sought by many men and the interrelationships considered important by many women are relevant to the use and usefulness of diagrams and need to be considered in each instance where a diagram is being chosen to represent a situation.