Previous research has indicated possible reciprocal connections between phonology and reading, and also connections between aspects of auditory perception and reading. The present study investigates these associations further by examining the potential influence of prenatal androgens using measures of digit ratio (the ratio of the lengths of the index and ring fingers). Those with low digit ratios (shorter index finger and therefore in the masculine direction) are hypothesised to have experienced greater “masculinisation” in the uterus. ANCOVA analyses using a verbal reasoning task as a covariate showed that only phonology was influenced by digit ratio in the right hand indicating that hypothesised androgen effects were inhibiting phonology; however this effect in the left hand was reduced and instead there was an effect indicating an inhibition of androgens on reading. Furthermore, subjects with low right-hand digit ratios were also impaired compared to those with high right-hand digit ratios in an auditory saltation task. These findings are discussed in terms of the possible effects of androgens on early brain development impairing aspects of the temporal processing of sounds by the left hemisphere, which could also have a secondary influence on developing phonology and literacy skills
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