Brain differences between homosexuals and heterosexuals?

The Washington Post reports on the continuing debate among brain researchers regarding alleged differences in brain structure that are a function of sexual orientation.

Is there such a thing as a “gay brain”? And, if so, are some people born with brains that make them more likely to be homosexual? Or do the brains of gay people develop differently in response to experiences?

Those are some of the thorny questions that have been raised by a provocative new study that found striking differences between the brains of homosexuals and heterosexuals in both men and women.

Some scientists say the new findings are part of an increasingly convincing body of evidence that suggests sexual orientation results from fundamental developmental differences that are probably caused by hormonal exposures in the womb.

“This research is pointing to basic differences in the brain between homosexual and heterosexual people that are likely there right from the beginning,” said Sandra F. Witelson, a professor of psychiatry and behavioral neurosciences at McMaster University in Ontario. “These could be reflecting some genetic or hormonal factors that predetermine your sexual orientation.”

Others, however, argue that such research is far from conclusive.

“I remain skeptical,” said William Byne, a professor of psychiatry at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York. “There’s been a history of jumping to conclusions and overinterpreting findings in this field.”

To paraphrase Glenn Reynolds:  “Indeed.”

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