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Relation Between Language Lateralisation and Spatial Ability in Gay and Straight Women and Men

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Delineating the relationship between language lateralisation and spatial ability remains an elusive goal. To explore the association of sexual orientation to the language lateralisation/spatial ability relationship, heterosexual (HT) women, HT men, lesbians, and gay men (20 per group) completed a divided-visual-field lexical-decision task to assess relative degrees of language lateralisation, as well as a Water Level Task (WLT) and two Mental Rotation (MR) Tasks designed to assess spatial ability. A significant cross-sex shift was revealed in the language lateralisation of gay men. Further, language lateralisation positively correlated with MR ability in HT men and tended to positively correlate with spatial perception in HT women. No significant associations were revealed in homosexual subjects. Different patterns of functional hemispheric asymmetry in homosexual and heterosexual individuals are discussed in relation to early neurobiological factors influencing the development of sexual orientation.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: July 1, 1998

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