No, Testosterone Probably Doesn't Improve Your Sense of Direction - Dream Health

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Saturday 2 January 2016

No, Testosterone Probably Doesn't Improve Your Sense of Direction

Cure for Bad Sense of Direction Discovered

According to a press release, the cure for bad sense of direction has been discovered and it is a dose of testosterone. Researchers at Norwegian University of Science and Technology – NTNU have tried to prove the ancient myth that men tend to have a much better sense of direction than women by administering testosterone to 42 men and women and thereafter monitor their neural activity through a way finding task.It was observed that men had performed much better than the women in the navigational task and the testosterone altered the neural activity of the participants.

 However, the results were eventually unconvincing regarding testosterone improvement of a person’s sense of direction. The researchers have mentioned that the `studies have constantly portrayed that the males seem to perform better than women on various spatial tasks.

Though the testosterone group had performed slightly better, the navigation success as well as the navigation strategy was the same in those controlled with a placebo. The authors further wrote that the `complex behaviour like the navigation depending more on learned strategies were not changed inspite of the increased neuronal activity in applicable brain regions.

Neurological Preference in Men – Navigation Strategies

The authors are yet of the belief that there is a neurological preference in men which tends to make their navigation strategies much better. The neural activity of 18 men and 18 women was monitored by the researchers while they oriented in a virtual maze.

An hour of learning the layout of the maze prior to them being hooked up to an fMRI scanner was given to the participants who were given 45 navigation tasks with duration of 30 seconds long. The task solved by the men was 50 percent more that of the women. According to the lead author of the study and a PhD candidate in the NTNU’s Neuroscience department, Carl Pintzka, men’s sense of direction seems to be more effective. They tend to simply get to their destination faster.

 In ancient times, men were hunters and women were the gatherers and hence the brains probably evolved differently. He added that for instance, the researchers documented that women seemed to be better in finding objects locally than men. Women, in simple terms seemed to be faster at locating things in the house, while men were faster in finding the house.

Hippocampus Essential in Making Cardinal Directions

The fMRI scans portrayed that men of the group had bigger activity in the hippocampus at the time of the tasks while the female seemed to used their frontal lobes. Pintzka adds that `it’s in sync with the fact that the hippocampus is essential in making cardinal directions and hoped that the women administered with testosterone would be capable of solving more tasks but did not. However, they had improved knowledge of the layout of the maze and used the hippocampus to a great extent that seemed to be used more for navigating by men.

Hippocampus is the area of the brain which is linked with memory and navigation. Some of the researchers are of the belief that men tend to have a larger hippocampus than the women, though a study in October indicated that there was nominal difference in the size of the hippocampus in the brains of both men and women.

The study of Pintzka is a part of a broader study on how the brain of male as well as female tends to differ. An area of his interest is how Alzheimer’s disease tends to affect men and women in a different manner, twice as many women had been diagnosed with the disease than men.

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