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Lifestyle: Sex Life

Wed 23 Jun, 2010
By Sam Bristowe

Our results suggest that both gay men and heterosexual women code faces bilaterally

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Study: Gay men are better at recognising faces than straight men

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Gay men recognise faces faster and more precisely than their heterosexual counterparts because, like women, they use both sides of their brains, according to a new study.

York University researchers found that when homosexual men were asked to memorise and differentiate between faces, they showed patterns of bilaterality similar to those of heterosexual women.

"Our results suggest that both gay men and heterosexual women code faces bilaterally," associate professor of psychology Jennifer Steeves said in a release. "That allows for faster retrieval of stored information."

Participants in the study, which looked into the effects gender, sexual orientation and hand dominance have on face recognition, were asked to memorise 10 faces and distinguish them from 50 others.

Researchers found hand dominance affected performance. Left-handed heterosexual participants were better at recognising faces than left-and right-handed homosexuals.
Hand dominance is generally thought to be linked to both sexual orientation and brain hemispheric functioning.

The study is published in the journal Laterality: Asymmetries of Body, Brain and Cognition.


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