Saviours of the ‘Lost Tribes’

4th May 2005

It’s official, when lost and searching for directions, men are ‘Dogmatic Bulls’ and women are ‘Dependents’, according to a new survey out today by online mapping service,
The survey, amongst 1,000 members of public, reveals that over half of UK men (52%) are ‘Dogmatic Bulls’ - who dogmatically claim they know exactly where they’re going and rarely admit to being lost.  What’s more, when quizzed about reading maps, a massive 47% of men claim they can store information in their heads easily and don’t need to refer to a map, compared to just 25% of women.

In contrast, 22% of women are ‘Dependents’, relying on other people for step-by-step directions to reach their final destination.  In addition, a further 14% are ‘Wanderers’ who don’t mind getting lost, as they believe they’ll get to their destination in the end.  Furthermore, three times more women than men admit to being ‘useless at reading maps’.

The ‘Dogmatic Bull’ and ‘Dependent’ are two of the five ‘lost tribes’ identified by  Others include:

* ‘The Palin’ - will plan every detail of the journey.

* ‘The Wanderer’ - doesn’t mind getting lost, as he/she believes they will get there in the end.

* ‘The Closet Map Reader’ - embarrassed about appearing lost in public.
(see below for full explanations)

Additionally, almost twice as many 15-24 year olds rely on using their mobile phones to ask friends or family for directions, compared to those aged 65 years and over.  However, this older group is twice as likely to be ‘Palins’, admitting that they plan every detail of a journey from beginning to end, compared to the 15-24 year old ‘Dependents’.

Interestingly, 36% of women aged 25-35 years find map reading easier if it includes familiar landmarks such as shops, hotels and pubs.  In addition, over a third of women compared to men also admit that they need to turn the map in the direction they’re travelling, otherwise they get confused.


Catriona Campbell, Behavioural Psychologist at The Usability Company, is an expert in understanding the way people process information.  Catriona explains: “As men favour using the left hand (analytical) side of their brain they’re likely to find map reading easier than women, who favour using the right (artistic) side. Whereas men can find their way by using road names and memorising the number of street turnings, women are more likely to require further visual information such as familiar landmarks.”

Toby Borger, Head of Sales & Marketing at comments: “Getting lost and arguing over directions is something we can all relate to.  Interestingly, this survey has helped expose several ‘lost tribes’ - all with different characteristics and personalities - no wonder map reading can be at the centre of most in-car arguments.

“ caters for most ‘Tribes’: Landmarks such as pubs, restaurants and shops to help ‘The Dependent’ find their way, and a route planner with printable turn-by-turn directions for ‘The Palin’ and ‘Closest Map-Reader’. ‘The Wanderer’ would love our Explore Map feature so that they can browse aimlessly through any area to discover what’s there. I’m sure even the ‘Dogmatic Bull’ would find our maps extremely useful, it’s just that he would never admit to it!”


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