Gay men and women are most likely to get lost driving on unknown roads, according to a new study.

Psychologists at Queen Mary, University of London, announced their findings after computer-based tests on 140 volunteers showed gay men and women performed worse than heterosexual men in tasks involving navigation and spatial awareness.

Dr Qazi Rahman, who led the team of researchers, believed it showed women relied on local landmarks to navigate, and are slower to take in spatial information.

He said:

“Men are good at using distal, or geometrical cues, to decide if they’re going north or south, for instance.

“They have a better basic sense of direction, but they can use local land marks as well.

“Driving in a novel environment which is poor in cues is where these differences are likely to show up most.

“Women are going to take a lot longer to reach their destination, making more errors, taking wrong turns etc. They need more rich local landmarks.”

Tests, which were developed at Yale University, included volunteers swimming through an underwater maze to find a hidden platform and exploring radial arms projecting from a central junction to receive ‘rewards.’

Dr Rahman added: “Gay people appear to show a ‘mosaic’ of performance, parts of which are male-like and other parts of which are female-like.”

While men did consistently better in tasks requiring navigation and uncovering hidden objects, women were more successful when remembering the position of an object.