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

May 23, 2007

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 men’s minds alike just ahead of women’s.

The University of Warwick researchers worked with the BBC to collect data from over 198,000 people aged 20–65 years (109,612 men and 88,509 women). As expected they found men outperformed women on tests such as mentally rotating objects (NB the researchers’ 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 men’s mental abilities declined faster than women’s and that sexual orientation made no difference to the rate of that decline either for men or women.

The paper has just been published in Archives of Sexual Behaviour April 2007 DOI 10.1007/s10508-006-9155-y and is entitled "Gender and Sexual Orientation Differences in Cognition Across Adulthood: Age Is Kinder to Women than to Men Regardless of Sexual Orientation".

Source: University of Warwick

Explore further: AbbVie hikes forecast, tops Street expectations

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

We need to talk about the sexual abuse of scientists

Sep 08, 2014

The life sciences have come under fire recently with a study published in PLOS ONE that investigated the level of sexual harassment and sexual assault of trainees in academic fieldwork environments. ...

We are all made of stars

Sep 02, 2014

Astronomers spend most of their time contemplating the universe, quite comfortable in the knowledge that we are just a speck among billions of planets, stars and galaxies. But last week, the Australian astronomical ...

3Qs: Gender equality in the military

Jan 29, 2013

The Pen­tagon has lifted the military's offi­cial ban on women in combat, a his­toric deci­sion that Pres­i­dent Obama said reflected "the coura­geous and patri­otic ser­vice of women through more ...

Even fact will not change first impressions

Feb 14, 2014

Knowledge is power, yet new research suggests that a person's appearance alone can trump knowledge. First impressions are so powerful that they can override what we are told about people. A new study found that even when ...

Recommended for you

AbbVie hikes forecast, tops Street expectations

11 hours ago

The drugmaker AbbVie surprised Wall Street on Friday with a third-quarter performance that turned out much better than expected and a new 2014 forecast that also extends well beyond what analysts predict.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.