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Scientific Research

Scientific Research

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Published by: LCLibrary on Jul 04, 2009
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Articles from Wikipedia
Prenatal hormones and sexual orientation (2-3)Fraternal birth order and sexual orientation (3-4)Handedness and sexual orientation (4-5)Biology and sexual orientation (5-14)Environment and sexual orientation (14-16)
Simon le Vay’s summary of the studies
Non Biological theories (17-18)Biological theories (18-35)
_ hormones
_ and
_ sexual
_ orientation
Prenatal hormones and sexual orientation
The hormonal theory of sexuality holds that, just as exposure to certain hormones plays arole in fetal sex differentiation, such exposure also influences the sexual orientation thatemerges later in the adult. Fetal hormones may be seen as the primary determiner of adultsexual orientation, or a co-factor with genes and/or environmental and social conditions.Male homosexuality as hyper-masculineThere is evidence of a correlation between sexual orientation and traits that aredetermined in utero. Williams et al. (2000) found that finger length ratio, a characteristiccontrolled by prenatal hormones, is different in people of distinct sexual orientations.Another study by McFadden in 1998 found that auditory systems in the brain, anotherphysical trait influenced by prenatal hormones is different in those of differingorientations, likewise the suprachiasmatic nucleus of homosexual men was found bySwaab and Hopffman to be larger in homosexual men than in heterosexual men, thesuprachiasmatic nucleus is also known to be larger in men than in women. Gay men havealso been shown to have higher levels of circulating androgens and larger penises, onaverage, than straight men.Gay men have more older brothers on average, a phenomenon known as the fraternalbirth order effect. It has been suggested that the greater the number of older male siblingsthe higher the level of androgen fetuses are exposed to.Male homosexuality as feminine or hypo-masculineIn a 1991 study, Simon LeVay demonstrated that a tiny clump of neurons of the anteriorhypothalamus—which is believed to control sexual behavior and linked to prenatalhormones—was on average more than twice the size in heterosexual men whencontrasted to homosexual men. Initially he could not rule out that this may be due toAIDS since all of his homosexual male subjects had died from it before the autopsieswere performed. However in 2003 scientists at Oregon State University announced that itreplicated his findings in sheep.Female homosexualityGirls with congenital adrenal hyperplasia (an autosomal recessive condition which resultsin high androgen levels during fetal development) have more masculinized sex roleidentities and are more likely to have a homosexual sexual orientation as adults thancontrols (Dittmann et al. 1990ab, 1992; Zucker et al., 1996; Hines et al., 2004). An
alternative explanation for this effect is that the fact that girls with this condition are bornwith masculinized external genitalia leads their parents to raise them in a more masculinemanner which then influences their sexual orientation as adults. However, the degree towhich the girls' genitals are masculinized does not correlate with their sexual orientation,suggesting that prenatal hormones are the causal factor, not parental influence.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fraternal _ birth _ order _ and _ sexual _ orientation
Fraternal birth order and sexual orientation
A correlation between fraternal birth order and sexual orientation has been suggested byrecent research. Ray Blanchard identified the association and referred to it as the fraternalbirth order effect. The observation is that the more older brothers a man has, the greaterthe probability is that he will have a homosexual orientation. It has sometimes been calledthe older brother effect.Empirical basisThe fraternal birth order effect is the strongest known predictor of sexual orientation.According to several studies, each older brother increases a man's odds of developing ahomosexual sexual orientation by 28%–48%. The fraternal birth order effect accounts forapproximately one seventh of the prevalence of homosexuality in men. There seems to beno effect on sexual orientation in women, and no effect related to the number of oldersisters.The fraternal birth order effect has also been observed among male-to-femaletranssexuals: MtF transsexuals who are sexually interested in men have a greater numberof older brothers than MtF transsexuals who are sexually interested in women. This hasbeen reported in samples from Canada, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, andPolynesia.CriticismPeter Bearman (2002) questions the sampling method of Blanchard and other scientistswho report a link between fraternal birth order and sexual orientation. He says that thestudies work with nonrepresentative samples, and/or indirect reports on siblings’ sexualorientation. After repeating the experiment done by Blanchard he found "no associationbetween same-sex attraction and number of older siblings, older brothers, or oldersisters".Theories of what causes the effect

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