Turns out men are better at directions. If you believe science, that is. Norwegian researchers recently discovered that men outperform women in sense of direction. The research, by the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), showed that men and women have different ways of finding their way somewhere, and that the men’s way is more effective. For part of the research, the women were given drops of testosterone under the tongue, and this was shown to increase their directional abilities.
According to Carl Pintzka, a doctor at NTNU, “Men’s sense of direction was more effective. They quite simply got to their destination faster.”
The research involved using an MRI scanner to note differences in brain activity between men and women in finding their way. The tests subjects navigated a virtual world while wearing 3D glasses.
The results were that men use what’s called “cardinal directions” to navigate, heading in the general direction of something, whereas women find their way by orienting themselves along a route. According to researchers, the cardinal method is more effective, as it allows room for flexibility in navigation.
The women did perform better, however, when given drops of testosterone under the tongue, interestingly.
And the women’s method of course has its advantages. Pintzka explains,
“In ancient times, men were hunters and women were gatherers. Therefore, our brains probably evolved differently. For instance, other researchers have documented that women are better at finding objects locally than men. In simple terms, women are faster at finding things in the house, and men are faster at finding the house.”
Pintzka hopes that understanding the differences in men and women’s brains, that researchers will be able to better understand how to treat Alzheimer’s disease.
Source: Press Release
Study: Reference: Changes in spatial cognition and brain activity after a single dose of testosterone in healthy women. Carl W.S. Pintzka et al. Behavioral Brain Research, Vol. 298, Part B, 1 February 2016, Pages 78-90.