Gender Nonconformity, Intelligence, and Sexual Orientation

Abstract

The present study explored whether there were relationships among gender nonconformity, intelligence, and sexual orientation. A total of 106 heterosexual men, 115 heterosexual women, and 103 gay men completed measures of demographic variables, recalled childhood gender nonconformity (CGN), and the National Adult Reading Test (NART). NART error scores were used to estimate Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale (WAIS) Full-Scale IQ (FSIQ) and Verbal IQ (VIQ) scores. Gay men had significantly fewer NART errors than heterosexual men and women (controlling for years of education). In heterosexual men, correlational analysis revealed significant associations between CGN, NART, and FSIQ scores (elevated boyhood femininity correlated with higher IQ scores). In heterosexual women, the direction of the correlations between CGN and all IQ scores was reversed (elevated girlhood femininity correlating with lower IQ scores). There were no significant correlations among these variables in gay men. These data may indicate a “sexuality-specific” effect on general cognitive ability but with limitations. They also support growing evidence that quantitative measures of sex-atypicality are useful in the study of trait sexual orientation.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    The 10-item questionnaire is available from the corresponding author upon request.

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Correspondence to Qazi Rahman.

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Rahman, Q., Bhanot, S., Emrith-Small, H. et al. Gender Nonconformity, Intelligence, and Sexual Orientation. Arch Sex Behav 41, 623–630 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10508-011-9737-1

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Keywords

  • Sexual orientation
  • Childhood gender nonconformity
  • Intelligence
  • Cognition
  • NART
  • WAIS