Research Shows Why Men Have a Better Sense of Direction than Women

Screen Shot 2015-12-17 at 2.40.48 PMResearchers at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology have announced their findings in a study on the long held stereotype regarding men having a better sense of direction vs a woman. Turns out, the stereotype is true, but theres a reason behind it – testosterone.

The researchers found that while the old stereotype was in fact true, this could be changed with women having a dose of testosterone. Interestingly, the study found that in regards to directions, men tend to just “go toward something” while women think about the route.

The new study’s findings were published in the journal, Behavioral Brain Research

Carl Pintzka, a Doctor at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology pointed out that, “Men’s sense of direction was more effective. They quite simply got to their destination faster….Men usually go in the general direction where (a place is) located. Women usually orient themselves along a route to get there.”

The study was performed with groups of 18 men and 18 women whose brain activity was continuously monitored by a MRI scanner. Both groups were given about an hour to familiarize themselves with a maze and then each were given a pair of 3D goggles and a joystick to navigate around in 45 locations, in 30-second objectives.

What the Scientists discovered was that in the time allotted each group, the men solved 50% more of the tasks given them versus the women. The brain scans showed the men used their hippocampus more as they navigated, while women used the frontal areas of the brain more than the men.

In the second phase of the study, 42 women participated in the testosterone study. Half took a drop of testosterone under the tongue, while half unknowingly took a placebo. The results? While the women who had the testosterone drop didn’t make it through the maze any faster, their sense of direction was improved overall.



Image: Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons

Source: Laboratory Equipment News 

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