e! Science finds something besides choosing mates that gay men’s brains do differently – recognize faces:
“Our results suggest that both gay men and heterosexual women code faces bilaterally. That allows for faster retrieval of stored information,” says study lead author Jennifer Steeves, Associate Professor, Department of Psychology, Faculty of Health [at the University of York].
Study participants were asked to memorize photographs of ten 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 homosexuals, and also outperformed right-handed heterosexuals.