The battle of the sexes has just taken a particularly irritating turn. For decades men have insisted they have a better sense of direction than women. This, they argue, makes them more accomplished drivers, navigators and map-readers. And now, maddeningly, science has proven them right.
Research has revealed that men really are better at finding their way to a fixed location than women.
A study of both genders found that male participants could find their way out of a virtual maze faster than females, as well as solving 50 per cent more challenges along the way.
It's likely to make the next long car journey insufferable - but it should come as no surprise that men and women are different creatures with different aptitudes.
Here, we reveal how, in every way, from night vision to handwriting style, the two sexes really are worlds apart. Bickering about what colour to paint the bedroom? Don't give in.
Women's eyesight is generally better than men's, especially when it comes to colours.
Colour-blindness affects eight per cent of men, compared to just 0.5 per cent of women.
Our ability to see comes from light- sensitive proteins in the body, two of which depend on genes located on the so-called X-chromosome. As women have two copies of this chromosome, we have twice as many genes - and there's back-up if one isn't working properly.
This gives us a more acute perception of primary colours: a 2012 U.S. study found we are better able to distinguish between subtle shades of red, blue and yellow.
A woman also uses her eyes in a very different way to a man, explains Dr Anne Moir, a leading neuropsychologist and co-author of Brain Sex.
"She has better peripheral vision and sees more detail, while he has better distance-judging vision."
This dates back millennia, to when hunter-gatherer males needed to track sudden movements from far away. Women - traditionally cooks and nurturers - developed close-up scrutiny for their daily chores.
There's a scientific explanation, too. Women have more rods and cones (the light-receiving cells at the back of the eye) in their retinas, which gives them a wider arc of vision than men.
They can also see better in the dark, absorbing every glimmer of available light to aid their sight.
A SOFTER TOUCH
It sounds like a cliché, but a 2009 study in the Journal of Neuroscience found that women have a finer sense of touch - called "tactile agility" - than men.
This is down to the size of our digits. People with smaller fingers have more closely-spaced sensory receptors, and so are more reactive to stimulation. These receptors are found in the outer layers of skin, called the epidermis, and are responsible for making us feel pressure, changes in texture, vibrations and pain.
Dr Moir says female sensitivity to touch can be up to twice that of men. "Women's senses in general are more acute," she adds. "The female is neurologically primed to be careful."
OUT OF EARSHOT
Next time your accuse your husband of "selective hearing", or he zones out while he's watching the television, you might want to think twice about telling him off.
Men are five-and-a-half times more likely to lose their hearing, according to a 2008 study.
There is no scientific explanation for this - boys and girls can hear equally well in childhood.
It's probably due to lifestyle and environmental factors that mostly affect men.
These range from smoking (cigarette smoke can affect our ears) to increased noise exposure. Age-related hearing loss typically begins in men at 32; in women it is 37.
Other research has found that women have better hearing at frequencies above 2,000 Hz - equivalent to birds chirping - while men are tuned into lower-frequency sounds.
This is most likely to be evolutionary, as a woman's hearing is sensitised to detect the noise of a crying baby.
Women have a better nose for smells - and the reason for this lies in our brains.
A study published last year found that female brains contained, on average, 43 per cent more cells and almost 50 per cent more neurons - nerve cells that transmit information - in the parts dedicated to odours.
In particular, women are far better at recognising scents associated with people, not objects.
This may be related to our ability to sniff out a mate, based on bodily secretions designed to attract partners. Androstadienone, a chemical found in semen and male sweat, promotes a positive mood in women, for example.
Oestrogen, the female sex hormone, increases a woman's sensitivity to smells as she prepares for motherhood.
"Gender differences appear during puberty - when a woman's body is flooded with oestrogen - and again during pregnancy and breastfeeding," explains psychologist Dr Cecilia Guariglia.
This enhanced sense of smell may help mothers detect threats to their child, or if they are ill.
TOP TASTE BUDS
Women often claim to have more refined palates - and there's proof that we really can distinguish flavours better than men.
This is because we have more taste buds on our tongues, according to research from Yale University.
Around 35 per cent of females are categorised as "supertasters", meaning they can identify flavours such as sweet, sour and bitter more strongly than normal. This compares to just 15 per cent of men.
The surge of hormones during pregnancy intensifies this sense, as oestrogen lubricates the mucous membranes in the mouth and can make the taste buds more alert.
This helps to explain the onset of sudden food cravings.
WAY WITH WORDS
Chatty women speak an average of 25,000 words a day, talking at a speed of 250 words a minute, according to Gary Smalley, author of Making Love Last Forever, a book on gender differences.
Men, by contrast, utter just 12,000 words daily at 125 words a minute.
We also have varying vocal ranges, with women using five different tones and men just three in everyday conversation.
This, scientists say, is due to the female knack for empathy: speaking over a broader range of high and low-pitched sounds makes us seem approachable.
Dr Anne Moir says what we talk about is different, too.
"He uses more commands; she tends to request and suggest. She communicates to bond; he communicates to get things done. He is looking for information; she is looking for social connection."
Remarkably, we even differ when we write things down.
In 2005, psychologists at the University of Leicester found it was possible to tell male and female handwriting apart - with two-thirds of participants able to identify a person's gender simply by seeing their writing.
This is thought to be due to progesterone, another female sex hormone, which girls are exposed to in the uterus before birth.
As well as fostering "feminine" traits in personality, the high levels of the chemical were linked to neater, more rounded penmanship.
Physical differences are also at play, namely our fingers.
Men's index fingers (the one beside the thumb) are usually shorter than their ring fingers (the one beside the little finger), whereas in women it tends to be the opposite.
This may account for men's messier handwriting, with the longer ring finger impeding the movement of their hand across the page.
THE PAIN GAIN
Women who have experienced the agony of labour swear it can't be true - but men have been shown to have a higher pain threshold.
Pain is a subjective sensation and cannot be measured scientifically, so the proof is in our reactions rather than the experience itself. Women are far more likely to report feeling pain than men. Researchers from Leeds University say gender stereotypes - the idea that men should appear macho and tolerate painful experiences - are behind this, because cultural expectations help govern our behaviour.
"Traditionally, high levels of stoicism are associated with men and high levels of sensitivity are associated with women," explains Dr Osama Tashani, a pain scientist who led the study.
This changes during childbirth because the surge in oestrogen levels causes the brain to release endorphins, lessening the pain a woman feels.
Women are also more likely to get migraines - three out of four sufferers are female - which are caused by an inflammation of blood vessels in the brain.
This is because the parts of the brain associated with pain perception have thicker membranes, giving them a greater surface contact area, and they cause an emotional, not purely physical, response.
Men are usually better at orientating themselves in unfamiliar settings - and scientists say this may be down to testosterone, a hormone abundant in the male brain, which is associated with spatial awareness.
"Men have been reported, since the middle of the 20th century, to have better spatial abilities," explains Dr Guariglia.
"They have been reported to be quicker in understanding abstract drawings, in developing and using maps and in spatial memory."
This may be due to the primal hunter-gatherer instinct inbuilt in the male brain.
Studies from 2005 found that men were better at thinking in 3D and matching up complicated shapes.
This, researchers said, was because increased testosterone pushed the brain to work in a more "masculine" way, making it focus on the spatial (or right) hemisphere.
FOCUS ON DETAIL
It may be little comfort when your husband forgets yet another anniversary, but studies have shown women are better at keeping track of little things, while men tend to focus on the bigger picture.
Research in 2008 found that, in academic studies, female students paid more attention to detail, while male students were prone to skim-reading. The same attitudes continue into adult life, affecting everything from household chores to how we approach our careers.
But there can be a downside to all this detail. In extreme cases, it may lead to obsessive behaviour, with women in a 1999 study showing a greater likelihood to develop acute obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) than men.
Women have the hormone oxytocin - a chemical released in the body during positive experiences, such as falling in love - to thank for our reputation as the friendlier sex.
"Women have slightly higher levels of oxytocin, which makes them more open to social interaction and better at understanding what other people are feeling," explains Dr Anne Machin, a leading psychologist and evolutionary anthropologist.
"You can see this very clearly in the different ways we approach relationships. How a relationship is going defines a woman's very being, whereas a man keeps his distance."
Some of this, she adds, may be down to how we're brought up: while girls tend to play with dolls, which teach social interaction and nurturing, boys play in a physical, object-based way.
Surprisingly, however, a study in 2011 found that men are better than women at detecting infidelity in a partner - because their brains are better attuned to subtle vocal, visual and scent clues.
BUNDLE OF NERVES
Women tend to be worriers - and Swedish researchers, in 2008, found this to be linked to serotonin, a type of chemical known as a neurotransmitter, which relays signals from one part of the brain to another.
It is often associated with anxiety and depression. Females have around half as much serotonin as males, and we also have fewer mechanisms for carrying it around the brain, making us prone to worry.
The context in which we feel this way also varies, explains Dr Machin. "Women tend to get anxiety over appearance and in social situations, while in men it's competitive things such as sports or work."
Like elephants, women never forget - and a study this year proved us right, with women performing better in prospective memory tests (remembering to carry out tasks or tell someone something) than men.
Dr Feisal Subhan, a lecturer in biomedical science at Plymouth University, attributes this to different wiring in our brains. Women's enhanced connections between hemispheres - which link thought with action and emotion with common sense - improve their short-term memory.
"In one study of 949 youths, adolescent females did better on attention, word and face memory tasks, while males did better on motor tasks and spatial memory," he adds.
Men's forgetfulness may also be due to a lack of sleep. A US study found they can tolerate sleep deprivation better than women - which sounds good but reduces their ability to file the day's memories, a process that usually happens at night.
FEELING THE COLD
If you are fighting over the central heating at this time of year, remind your other half that women really are the chillier sex.
The female body stores fat in a different way to men, laying it down in a thick, even layer just below the surface of the skin, known as subcutaneous fat. Men's, by contrast, is thinner and uneven.
"This acts as a layer of insulation," explains Mike Tipton, professor of physiology at the University of Portsmouth. "But rather than keep the insides warm, it prevents the blood from reaching the surface of a woman's skin, causing her outer temperature to be cooler.
"If you put a man and a woman into the same environment and slowly lower the temperature, the woman will reduce blood flow to her extremities faster and shut them down for longer."
Most of our temperature sensors are located in the skin, and so we feel cold when our extremities are cold, however warm our internal organs are.
The gender difference is so noticeable that earlier this year scientists called for office air- conditioning to be reset at a warmer temperature: until now, they've been catering for men.