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Prenatal exposure to testosterone and functional cerebral lateralization: a study in same-sex and opposite-sex twin girls

By Celina C. C. Cohen-Bendahan, Jan K. Buitelaar, Stephanie Helena Maria Van Goozen and Peggy T. Cohen-Kettenis

Abstract

In animals it has been shown that exposure to sex hormones is influenced by intrauterine position. Thus fetuses located between two male fetuses are exposed to higher levels of testosterone (T) than fetuses situated between two female fetuses or one female and one male fetus. In a group of opposite-sex (OS) twin girls and same-sex (SS) twin girls a potential effect of prenatal exposure to testosterone (T) on functional cerebral lateralization was investigated. We hypothesized that prenatal exposure to T would result in a more masculine, i.e. a more lateralized pattern of cerebral lateralization in OS twin girls than in SS twin girls. An auditory–verbal dichotic listening task (DLT) was used as an indirect method to study hemispheric specialization. Firstly, we established a sex difference on the DLT. Compared with SS girls, OS twin boys showed a more lateralized pattern of processing verbal stimuli. Secondly, as predicted OS girls had a more masculine pattern of cerebral lateralization, than SS girls. These findings support the notion of an influence of prenatal T on early brain organization in girls

Topics: BF, RG, RJ
Publisher: Elsevier
Year: 2004
OAI identifier: oai:http://orca.cf.ac.uk:33803
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