, Volume 26, Issue 5, pp 463-480

Sexual Orientation Differences in Cerebral Asymmetry and in the Performance of Sexually Dimorphic Cognitive and Motor Tasks

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Abstract

With each of the tasks in the present studies we expected to find the reported sex difference between heterosexual women and heterosexual men and we predicted a sexual orientation effect with the performance of homosexual men being similar to that of heterosexual women and different from that of heterosexual men. Study I aimed to replicate earlier findings by recording the performance of a group of homosexual men on a visuospatial task, the Vincent Mechanical Diagrams Test (VMDT), a dot detection divided visual field measure of functional cerebral asymmetry, and on five subtests of the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale (WAIS). For each task the profile of scores obtained for the homosexual men was similar to that of heterosexual women in that they scored lower than heterosexual men on the VMDT, they showed less asymmetry, and they recorded a higher Verbal than Performance IQ on the WAIS. In Study 2, a male-biased targeted throwing task favored heterosexual men while, in contrast, on the female-biased Purdue Pegboard single peg condition heterosexual men were outperformed by heterosexual women and homosexual men. On neither of these two tasks did the performances of homosexual men and heterosexual women differ. One task, manual speed, yielded neither sex nor sexual orientation differences. Another, the Purdue Pegboard assemblies condition, revealed a sex difference but no sexual orientation difference. Failure to obtain a sexual orientation difference in the presence of a sex difference suggests that the sexual orientation effect may be restricted to a subset of sexually dimorphic tasks.