Volume 9 Issue 142
Published - 14:00 UTC 08:00 EST 23-May-2007 
Next Update - 14:00 UTC 08:00 EST 24-May-2007

Editor: Susan K. Boyer, RN
© Vidyya.
All rights reserved.



Sexual orientation affects how we navigate and recall lost objects, but age just targets gender

(23 May 2007: VIDYYA MEDICAL NEWS SERVICE) -- Researchers at the University of Warwick have found that sexual orientation has a real effect on how we perform mental tasks such as navigating with a map in a car but that old age does not discriminate on grounds of sexual orientation and withers all menís minds alike just ahead of womenís.

The University of Warwick researchers worked with the BBC to collect data from over 198,000 people aged 20Ė65 years (109,612 men and 88,509 women). As expected they found men outperformed women on tests such as mentally rotating objects (NB the researchersí tests used abstract objects but the skills used are also those one would use in real life to navigate with a map). They found that women outperformed men in verbal dexterity tests, and remembering the locations of objects. However for a number of tasks the University of Warwick researchers found key differences across the range of sexual orientations studied.

For instance in mental rotation (a task where men usually perform better) they found that the table of best performance to worst was:

Heterosexual men

Bisexual men

Homosexual men

Homosexual women

Bisexual women

Heterosexual women

In general, over the range of tasks measured, where a gender performed better in a task heterosexuals of that gender tended to perform better than non-heterosexuals. When a particular gender was poorer at a task homosexual and bisexual people tended to perform better than heterosexual members of that gender.

However age was found to discriminate on gender grounds but not sexual orientation. The study found that menís mental abilities declined faster than womenís and that sexual orientation made no difference to the rate of that decline either for men or women.

Note for editors: The paper has just been published in Archives of Sexual Behaviour April 2007

Return to Vidyya Medical News Service for 23 May 2007

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