Sex differences have been reported for a variety of cognitive tasks and related to the use of different cognitive processing styles in men and women. It was recently argued that these processing styles share some characteristics across tasks, i.e. male approaches are oriented towards holistic stimulus aspects and female approaches are oriented towards stimulus details. In that respect, sex-dependent cognitive processing styles share similarities with attentional global-local processing. A direct relationship between cognitive processing and global-local processing has however not been previously established. In the present study, 49 men and 44 women completed a Navon paradigm and a Kimchi Palmer task as well as a navigation task and a verbal fluency task with the goal to relate the global advantage (GA) effect as a measure of global processing to holistic processing styles in both tasks. Indeed participants with larger GA effects displayed more holistic processing during spatial navigation and phonemic fluency. However, the relationship to cognitive processing styles was modulated by the specific condition of the Navon paradigm, as well as the sex of participants. Thus, different types of global-local processing play different roles for cognitive processing in men and women.