Gay men better at recalling facesJune 23rd, 2010 - 3:07 pm ICT by IANS
Toronto, June 23 (IANS) Gay men can recall familiar faces faster and more accurately than their heterosexual counterparts because, like women, they use both sides of their brains, says a study.
Led by Jennifer Steeves, associate professor in psychology, York University, the study examined the influence of gender, sexual orientation and whether we’re right-or-left-handed in our ability to recognise faces.
It found that when memorising and discriminating between faces, homosexual men show patterns of bilaterality - the usage of both sides of the brain - similar to heterosexual women. Heterosexual men tend to favour the right side for such tasks.
“Our results suggest that both gay men and heterosexual women code faces bilaterally. That allows for faster retrieval of stored information,” Steeves said.
Study participants were asked to memorize photographs of 10 faces and differentiate them from 50 others, shown to them for only milliseconds each.
The images were rendered in black and white and edited to remove ears, hair and blemishes, which can serve as obvious identifying cues. Participants then had to relay which faces were new as quickly and accurately as possible.
Steeves and her colleagues also investigated the influence of hand dominance on such tasks.
They found that left-handed heterosexual participants had better face recognition abilities than left-handed and right-handed heterosexuals.
These findings were published in Laterality: Asymmetries of Body, Brain and Cognition.
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Tags: associate professor, asymmetries, bilaterally, blemishes, body brain, brain and cognition, cues, face recognition, familiar faces, favour, gay men, hand dominance, heterosexual counterparts, heterosexual men, homosexual men, sexual orientation, sides of the brain, steeves, study participants, york university