| 9.1°C Dublin

DIY ability in the genes -- scientists

Home improvement enthusiasts who flounder with flat-pack furniture were given an excuse today for their struggles -- DIY ability is in the genes, say scientists.

Two in three people lack the necessary spatial awareness to complete DIY tasks, researchers concluded.

Halifax Home Insurance estimated that £400m (€445m) worth of damage was caused last year by people who lack genetically pre-determined Do-It-Yourself ability.

Men scored higher in the experiment, suggesting they are better "programmed" to carry out essential home improvement tasks, the researchers said.

Psychologist Dr Glenn Wilson, who led the experiment, said: "Although there is not one specific DIY gene, spatial awareness is vital in understanding how shapes fit together and is therefore fundamental to DIY skills.

"Some people simply do not have the mental equipment necessary to manipulate shapes and will always struggle to complete DIY tasks successfully."

To measure inherent DIY ability, researchers asked participants to complete specially designed multi-dimensional puzzles. The tests revealed innate understanding of shapes and mechanics, an ability not subject to "trial and error" learning, the researchers said.

The study was conducted for Halifax Home Insurance by ICM Research between March 25 and 28, with 2,000 British adults questioned.