Gay Brains

Timothy Kincaid

June 16th, 2008

There have been plenty of studies that identified differences between the ways in which males and females process information. And there have been several that found that gay men are similar to straight women and that lesbians are similar to straight men. New Scientist is reporting another one.

Brain scans have provided the most compelling evidence yet that being gay or straight is a biologically fixed trait.

The scans reveal that in gay people, key structures of the brain governing emotion, mood, anxiety and aggressiveness resemble those in straight people of the opposite sex.

But until now, the question has remained as to what came first, the orientation or the brain development.

To get round this, Savic and her colleague, Per Lindström, chose to measure brain parameters likely to have been fixed at birth.

“That was the whole point of the study, to show parameters that differ, but which couldn’t be altered by learning or cognitive processes,” says Savic.

First they used MRI scans to find out the overall volume and shapes of brains in a group of 90 volunteers consisting of 25 heterosexuals and 20 homosexuals of each gender.

The results showed that straight men had asymmetric brains, with the right hemisphere slightly larger – and the gay women also had this asymmetry. Gay men, meanwhile, had symmetrical brains like those of straight women.

quo III

June 16th, 2008

What was the source of this information? There doesn’t seem to be a link in this post.

Timothy Kincaid

June 16th, 2008

Sorry. Fixed now.

Drowssap

June 17th, 2008

That study is a landmark!

A) The studied brain differences aren’t the result of learned behavior. That’s huge!

B) According to the scientists involved these brain differences don’t appear to be the result of genetics. That’s huge!

C) The other Swedish study from yesterday suggests that SSA is 61% to 66% environment. Once again HUGE!

D) WOW!

Yesterday was seismic for people on every side of the scientific debate.

Drowssap

June 17th, 2008

Then again things might work out like this Churchill quote…

“Man will occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of the time he will pick himself up and continue on.”

I fear by next week Narth will post a special article on how SSA is the result of faulty parenting and various LGBT sites will post threads that focus on Bailey’s 1991 twin study.

Great Zeus! I fear some things will never change.

quo III

June 17th, 2008

I note that there was no comment in that New Scientist article about whether the differences that study found were absolute or simply averages.

quo III

June 17th, 2008

Just the way that article is written makes me scornful. The opening sentence is: ‘Brain scans have provided the most compelling evidence yet that being gay or straight is a biologically fixed trait.’

Really, if there’s already ‘compelling’ evidence that being gay or straight is a biologically fixed trait, what was the point of this study?

Ephilei

June 17th, 2008

I’m always critical of supposed landmark studies until they’re accepted at large. in this case, what area of the brain did they study and why do they think this area doesn’t change over time? Notice the use of “LIKELY to be fixed at birth.” The study mentions symetry of the size of the hemispheres, but common sense would say that does change. Just compare the head size of an infant and an adult.

Good news is that if this is accurate, they’ll be no selectively aborting gays since i dont know how to perform an MRI in utero.

Drowssap

June 17th, 2008

Ephilei

I read the section a couple times and the scientists made it clear that they DO NOT know if the brain changes are set in motion before or after birth.

—-

Sex difference in brain size has been shown to be present at birth (48), and some volumetric data suggest that sex differences in hemispheric asymmetry exist already in the human fetus (49, 50), although other studies failed to detect them (51, 52). Adult patterns of cerebral asymmetry (53), as well some features of regional sexual dimorphism, are detected already in children (54). Cerebral maturation continues, however, after puberty, especially in boys (31), providing a substrate for effects of social/environmental factors. However, to attribute such effects to the present results would require a detailed comprehension of how specific environmental factors relate to the four groups investigated, and how they affect various cerebral circuits. In the light of currently available information this can only be speculative.

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