Prenatal Androgens in Men’s Sexual Orientation: Evidence for a More Nuanced Role?
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Breedlove (2017) provides a thoughtful review of prenatal hormone theory (Ellis & Ames 1987) and the development of sexual orientation. Specifically, Breedlove argues that prenatal androgen exposure seems to be involved in the development of sexual orientation in women largely based on findings that pertain to relative finger lengths (e.g., lesbians have a lower and thus more masculine 2D:4D finger length ratio than heterosexual women; Grimbos, Dawood, Burriss, Zucker, & Puts, 2010; Williams et al., 2000), but also based on evidence pertaining to the auditory system (i.e., lesbians have weaker and thus more masculinized, otoacoustic emissions than heterosexual women; McFadden, 2011). For men, the existing research, especially when considering 2D:4D ratios (but also otoacoustic emissions), seems to indicate that a decrease in exposure to prenatal androgens is not related to the development of sexual orientation. This conclusion stems in part from animal research demonstrating how...
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