Article

Sexual Orientation and Childhood Gender Nonconformity: Evidence From Home Videos

Department of Psychology, Northwestern University, 2029 Sheridan Road, Swift Hall #102, Evanston IL 60208, USA.
Developmental Psychology (Impact Factor: 3.21). 02/2008; 44(1):46-58. DOI: 10.1037/0012-1649.44.1.46
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Homosexual adults tend to be more gender nonconforming than heterosexual adults in some of their behaviors, feelings, and interests. Retrospective studies have also shown large differences in childhood gender nonconformity, but these studies have been criticized for possible memory biases. The authors studied an indicator of childhood gender nonconformity not subject to such biases: childhood home videos. They recruited homosexual and heterosexual men and women (targets) with videos from their childhood and subsequently asked heterosexual and homosexual raters to judge the gender nonconformity of the targets from both the childhood videos and adult videos made for the study. Prehomosexual children were judged more gender nonconforming, on average, than preheterosexual children, and this pattern obtained for both men and women. This difference emerged early, carried into adulthood, and was consistent with self-report. In addition, targets who were more gender nonconforming tended to recall more childhood rejection.

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    • "Maletypical sexual arousal in females may be due to elevated exposure to prenatal androgen that affects postnatal masculinized behaviors (Auyeung et al., 2009). These prenatal influences are possibly responsible for why homosexual women are more male-typical than heterosexual women in other ways, including their motor behaviors, voice patterns, physical appearance, and self-concepts (Freeman, Johnson, Ambady, & Rule, 2010; Lippa, 2008; Rieger, Linsenmeier, Gygax, & Bailey, 2008). The most masculine-behaving women may therefore have most male-typical sexual responses. "
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    • "The former position, based on observations that homosexual men and women tend to be more gender non-conforming than heterosexuals (Bailey et al., 1994; Lippa, 2002, 2008; Rieger et al., 2008), is associated with an idea that the brains of homosexual women and men have been respectively masculinized and feminized (or, more accurately, not masculinized) as a feature of their individual development (Blanchard et al., 2006; Lalumière, Blanchard, & Zucker, 2000; Rahman, 2005; Rahman & Wilson, 2003). Studies investigating this hypothesis have reported that homosexual men and women are more similar to heterosexual opposite sex than own sex counterparts in a variety of domains; homosexual men have more feminine digit length ratios (Manning, Churchill, & Peters, 2007), homosexual adults report patterns typical of the opposite sex in childhood play (Bailey & Zucker, 1995; Rieger et al., 2008), and homosexual individuals are more similar to opposite sex heterosexuals than to same sex heterosexuals in both preferences for body odours (Martins et al., 2005) and physiological response to pheromones (Savic, Berglund, & Lindström, 2005). "
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    • "It was also found that isolated facial cues, such as characteristic posturing around the mouth and eye area, provided sufficient information to enable abovechance accuracy in attributing sexual orientation (Rule et al., 2008). Besides facial appearance, previous studies tested the role of vocal and other behavioral cues in sexual orientation attribution and it was found that listeners could distinguish between the speech of homosexual and heterosexual targets (Gaudio, 1994; Linville, 1998; Rieger, Linsenmeier, Gygax, Garcia, & Bailey, 2010), observers accurately judged sexual orientation from short video-clips of walking style (Johnson, Gill, Reichman, & Tassinary, 2007; Rieger, Linsenmeier, Gygax, & Bailey, 2008), and, in one study, sexual orientation was accurately judged from video clips that were only 1 s in length (Ambady et al., 1999). It was also shown that, to some degree, such attributions work cross-culturally (Rule, Ishii, Ambady, Rosen, & Hallett, 2011; Valentova, Rieger, Havlicek , Linsenmeier, & Bailey, 2011). "
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