After analyzing the results, they found that "men were significantly more efficient than women, even after controlling for the effects of strategy," the researchers said in a statement.
The analysts discovered that men were more likely to take shortcuts to reach their destination, while women were more likely to follow learned routes and wander. They said wandering suggested that someone does not have enough information about a certain area.
However, they did note their results were based on the average performance between men and women, and some women were just as good at directions as men.
Although the researchers are still exploring why there are differences between the sexes, they said it “may be related to the difference in the ability to learn the layout of an environment with a given amount of experience.”
They also listed video games as a possible factor.
“It is also possible that the sex difference in efficiency is due in part to facility with the interface or navigation in virtual environments, as men tend to spend more time playing video games,” they wrote.
They now hope to continue their investigations to examine how people navigate real environments versus virtual ones.