Structure of a gay brain
The differences between heterosexual and homosexual people are as much the subject of fascinating science as they are a source of social debate. And in many cases, the former can help to inform the latter. A new study adds new weight to this evidence by using brain-scanning technology to look at the differences between the brains of gay and straight people. Ivanka Savic and Per Lindstrom at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm scanned the brains of 90 men and women of different sexual orientations.
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Brains of gay people resemble those of straight people of opposite sex
Brain structure changes associated with sexual orientation | Scientific Reports
The neurobiology of sexual preference is often discussed in terms of cerebral sex dimorphism. Yet, our knowledge about possible cerebral differences between homosexual men HoM , heterosexual men HeM and heterosexual women HeW are extremely limited. In the present MRI study, we addressed this issue investigating measures of cerebral anatomy and function, which were previously reported to show sex difference. HoM displayed a significantly thicker anterior cingulate cortex ACC , precuneus, and the left occipito-temporal cortex compared to both control groups. These differences seemed coordinated, since HoM also displayed stronger cortico-cortical covariations between these regions. Furthermore, functional connections within the default mode network, which mediates self- referential processing, and includes the ACC and precuneus were significantly weaker in HoM than HeM and HeW, whereas their functional connectivity between the thalamus and hypothalamus important nodes for sexual behavior was stronger.
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What the Gay Brain Looks Like
Researchers using brain scans have found new evidence that biology—and not environment—is at the core of sexual orientation. Scientists at the Stockholm Brain Institute in Sweden report in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA that gay men and straight women share similar traits—most notably in the size of their brains and the activity of the amygdala—an area of the brain tied to emotion, anxiety and aggression. The same is true for heterosexual men and lesbians.
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