Handedness, sexual orientation and gender


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Handedness, sexual orientation and gender

  1. 1. • Handedness, Sexual Orientation and Gender-Related Personality Traits in Men and Women• Journal article by Richard A. Lippa; Archives of Sexual Behavior, Vol. 32, 2003 Handedness, sexual orientation, and gender-related personality traits in men and women. by Richard A. Lippa INTRODUCTION In a recent meta-analysis, Lalumiere, Blanchard, and Zucker (2000) compiled evidence on associations between handedness and sexual orientation in men and women. Data from 6,182 homosexual and 14,808 heterosexual men showed that homosexual men had 34% greater odds of being non--right-handed than heterosexual men, and data from 805 homosexual and 1,615 heterosexual women showed that homosexual women had 91% greater odds of being non--right-handed than heterosexual women. Both of these differences were statistically significant. A number of recent studies have also indicated that gender identity disorder is associated with non-right-handedness (see Green and Young, 2001, and Zucker, Beaulieu, Bradley, Grimshaw, and Wilcox, 2001, for reviews and new data). Although there is now considerable evidence for an association between non-right- handedness and certain kinds of strong gender-atypicality (e.g., homosexuality, gender identity disorder), the evidence is weaker for associations between handedness and other kinds of gender-related individual differences. Perhaps the best-documented finding is that there are slightly higher rates of left-handedness in males than females. In an international survey of over 11,000 participants, for example, Perelle and Ehrmaa (1994) reported that 10.6% of male participants and 8.5% of female participants reported writing with their left hands, and in a compilation of data from over 12,000 children, Zucker et al. (2001) reported that 11.8% of boys and 9.0% of girls were left-handed. Finally, a meta-analysis by Seddon and McManus (1991) compiled results from 88 studies with more than a quarter of a million participants and found that 8.5% of men and 6.7% of women were left-handed, with mens incidence of left-handedness 27% higher than womens. Although a number of theories have attempted to explain the small but reliable sex differences typically found in handedness, these differences remain poorly understood. A few studies have examined associations between handedness and gender-related personality traits within each sex. For example, Nicholls and Forbes (1996) reported mat 40 U left-handed women scored higher On instrumentality (i.e., dominance) and lower on expressiveness (i.e., nurturance) than did 40 right-handed women. In a study of 340 college women, Casey and Nuttall (1990) reported a number of significant associations between "anomalous dominance" (being non-right-handed or having non--right-handed first-degree relatives) and instrumentality and expressiveness as assessed by the Bem Sex-Role Inventory and masculinity as assessed by a tomboy scale. In general, women with "anomalous dominance" showed more male-typical traits than purely right-handed women. Santhakumari, Kurian, and Rao (1994) reported that, among 124 Indian women, non-right-handedness was associated with