Archives of Sexual Behavior

, Volume 32, Issue 2, pp 103–114 | Cite as

Handedness, Sexual Orientation, and Gender-Related Personality Traits in Men and Women

  • Richard A. Lippa
Article

Abstract

This study assessed large numbers of heterosexual and homosexual men and women on handedness and gender-related personality traits. Initial analyses employed a dichotomous measure of handedness (right-handed vs. non–right-handed). For men and women combined, homosexual participants had 50% greater odds of being non–right-handed than heterosexual participants, a statistically significant difference. Homosexual men had 82% greater odds of being non–right-handed than heterosexual men, a statistically significant difference, whereas homosexual women had 22% greater odds of being non–right-handed than heterosexual women, a nonsignificant difference. When participants were classified into five graduated categories of handedness, both men and women showed significant homosexual–heterosexual differences in handedness distributions. Within groups, handedness showed a number of weak but statistically significant associations with sex-typed occupational preferences, self-ascribed masculinity, and self-ascribed femininity, but not with instrumentality or expressiveness. Rates of non–right-handedness were virtually identical for heterosexual men and women, suggesting that sex differences in handedness may result from higher rates of homosexuality in men.

handedness sexual orientation sex differences masculinity femininity 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

REFERENCES

  1. Bem, S. L. (1981). Bem Sex-Role Inventory professional manual. Palo Alto, CA: Consulting Psychologists Press.Google Scholar
  2. Blanchard, R. (1997). Birth order and sibling sex ratio in homosexual versus heterosexual males and females. Annual Review of Sex Re-search, 8, 27–67.Google Scholar
  3. Blanchard, R., & Freund, K. (1983). Measuring masculine gender identity in females. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 51, 205–214.Google Scholar
  4. Blanchard, R., & Klassen, P. (1997). H-Y antigen and homosexuality in men. Journal of Theoretical Biology, 185, 373–378.Google Scholar
  5. Bryden, M. P., McManus, I. C., & Bulman-Fleming, M. B. (1994). Evaluating empirical support for the Geschwind-Behan-Galaburda model of cerebral lateralization. Brain and Cognition, 26, 103–165.Google Scholar
  6. Cantor, J. M., Blanchard, R., Paterson, A. D., & Bogaert, A. F. (2002). How many gay men owe their sexual orientation to fraternal birth order? Archives of Sexual Behavior, 31, 63–71.Google Scholar
  7. Casey, M. B., & Nuttall, R. L. (1990). Differences in masculine and feminine characteristics in women as a function of handedness: Support for the Geschwind/Galaburda theory of brain organization. Neuropsychologia, 28, 749–754.Google Scholar
  8. Coren, S. (1994). Personality differences between left-and right-handers: An overlooked minority group? Journal of Research in Personality, 28, 214–229.Google Scholar
  9. Coren, S., & Halpern, D. F. (1991). Left-handedness: A marker for de-creased survival fitness. Psychological Bulletin, 109, 90–106.Google Scholar
  10. Coren, S., & Searleman, A. (1990). Birth stress and left-handedness: The rare trait marker model. In S. Coren (Ed.), Left-handedness: Behavioral implications and anomalies (pp. 3–32). Amsterdam: Elsevier.Google Scholar
  11. Ellis, L., & Cole-Harding, S. (2001). The effects of prenatal stress, and of prenatal alcohol and nicotine exposure, on human sexual orientation. Physiology and Behavior, 74, 213–226.Google Scholar
  12. Gangestad, S. W., Yeo, R. A., Shaw, P. K., Thoma, R., Daniel, W. F., & Korthank, A. (1996). Human leukocyte antigens and hand preference: Preliminary observations. Neuropsychology, 10, 423–428.Google Scholar
  13. Geschwind, N., & Galaburda, A. M. (1985). Cerebral lateralization. Biological mechanisms, associations, and pathology: II. A hypothesis and a program for research. Archives of Neurology, 42, 521–552.Google Scholar
  14. Green, R., & Young, R. (2001). Hand preference, sexual preference, and transsexualism. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 30, 565–574.Google Scholar
  15. Grimshaw, G. M., Bryden, M. P., & Finegan, J. K. (1995). Relations between prenatal testosterone and cerebral lateralization in children. Neuropsychology, 9, 68–79.Google Scholar
  16. Haddock, C. K., Rindskopf, D., & Shadish, W. R. (1998). Using odds ratios as effect sizes for meta-analysis of dichotomous data: A primer on methods and issues. Psychological Methods, 3, 339–353.Google Scholar
  17. James, W. H. (1989). Foetal testosterone levels, homosexuality and handedness: A research proposal for jointly testing Geschwind's and D¨orner's hypotheses. Journal of Theoretical Biology, 136, 177–180.Google Scholar
  18. Lalumière, M. L., Blanchard, R., & Zucker, K. J. (2000). Sexual orientation and handedness in men and women: A meta-analysis. Psy-chological Bulletin, 126, 575–592.Google Scholar
  19. Lippa, R. (1995). Gender-related individual differences and psychological adjustment in terms of the Big Five and circumplex models. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 69, 1184–1202.Google Scholar
  20. Lippa, R. A. (2000). Gender-related traits in gay men, lesbian women, and heterosexual men and women: The virtual identity of homosexual–heterosexual diagnosticity and gender diagnosticity, Journal of Personality, 68, 899–926.Google Scholar
  21. Lippa, R. A. (2001). On deconstructing and reconstructing masculinity–femininity. Journal of Research in Personality, 35, 168–207.Google Scholar
  22. Lippa, R. A. (2002a). Gender, nature, and nurture. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  23. Lippa, R. A. (2002b). Gender-related traits of heterosexual and homo-sexual men and women. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 31, 83–98.Google Scholar
  24. Lippa, R., & Connelly, S. C. (1990). Gender diagnosticity: A new Bayesian approach to gender-related individual differences. Jour-nal of Personality and Social Psychology, 59, 1051–1065.Google Scholar
  25. Lippa, R. A., & Tan, F. D. (2001). Does culture moderate the relationship between sexual orientation and gender-related personality traits? Cross-Cultural Research, 35, 65–87.Google Scholar
  26. Mustanski, B. S., Bailey, J. M., & Kaspar, S. (2002). Dermatoglyphics, handedness, and sexual orientation. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 31, 113–122.Google Scholar
  27. Nicholls, M. E. R., & Forbes, S. (1996). Handedness and its association with gender-related psychological and physiological characteristics. Journal of Clinical and Experimental Neuropsychology, 18, 905–910.Google Scholar
  28. Perelle, I. B., & Ehrman, L. (1994). An international study of human handedness: The data. Behavior Genetics, 24, 217–227.Google Scholar
  29. Previc, F. H. (1996). Nonright-handedness, central nervous system and related pathology, and its lateralization: A reformulation and synthesis. Developmental Neuropsychology, 12, 443–515.Google Scholar
  30. Santhakumari, K., Kurian, G., & Rao, V. K. (1994). Cross-gender identity, familial nonright-handedness and hand preference. Psychologia, 37, 34–38.Google Scholar
  31. Satz, P. (1972). Pathological left-handedness: An explanatory model. Cortex, 8, 121–135.Google Scholar
  32. Seddon, B. M., & McManus, I. C. (1991). The incidence of left-handedness: A meta-analysis. Unpublished manuscript. Department of Psychology, University College London, London.Google Scholar
  33. Storms, M. D. (1979). Sex role identity and its relationship to sex role attributions and sex role stereotypes. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 37, 1779–1789.Google Scholar
  34. Yeo, R. A., & Gangestad, S. W. (1998). Developmental instability and phenotypic variation in neural organization. In N. Raz (Ed.), The other side of the error term (pp. 1–51). New York: Elsevier.Google Scholar
  35. Zucker, K. J., Beaulieu, N., Bradley, S. J., Grimshaw, G. M., & Wilcox, A. (2001). Handedness in boys with gender identity disorder. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 42, 767–776.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Richard A. Lippa
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyCalifornia State UniversityFullerton

Personalised recommendations