Women and gay men are likely to be the worst motorists, a new study reveals.
The study, led by Dr Qazi Rahman, a psychologist at Queen Mary, University of London, revealed that both women and gay men perform poorly in tasks involving navigation and spatial awareness when compared to heterosexual men.
AdvertisementThe findings imply that driving in a strange environment would be more difficult for gay men and women than for straight male motorists, the researchers contemplated.
That is, because both tend to rely on local landmarks to get around, and are also slower to take in spatial information.
In the study, computer-based tests were carried out on 140 volunteers.
The team used virtual reality simulations of two common tests of spatial learning and memory, which was developed at Yale University.
In one, volunteers had to swim through an underwater maze to find a hidden platform, while the second involved exploring radial arms projecting from a central junction to receive 'rewards'.
The research demonstrated that gay men, straight women and lesbians navigated in a similar way, sharing the same weaknesses.
Though women were more successful in tests requiring them to remember the position of objects, men consistently performed better in tasks requiring navigation and uncovering hidden objects.
'Men are good at using distal, or geometrical cues, to decide if they're going north or south, for instance. They have a better basic sense of direction, but they can use local landmarks as well,' The Telegraph quoted Rahman, as saying.
'Driving in a novel environment which is poor in cues is where these differences are likely to show up most.
'Women are going to take a lot longer to reach their destination, making more errors, taking wrong turns etc. They need more rich local landmarks,' he added.