Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Gay Brains - A New Study


New research, utilizing brain scans of 90 volunteers, is being described as the "most robust measure" made of differences in brain structure and activity between gay and straight people.

The scans reveal that in gay people, key structures of the brain governing emotion, mood, anxiety and aggressiveness resemble those in straight people of the opposite sex.


U.S. News reports:

MRI and PET scan studies are showing remarkable similarities between the brains of gay men and straight women, and between those of lesbians and straight men.

For example, the brains of straight men and of gay women share certain common features: both are slightly asymmetric, with the right hemisphere larger than the left, say the Swedish researchers.

On the other hand, the brains of gay men and straight women are both symmetrical.

Similar trends emerged when scientists tracked connectivity in the amygdala, the region of the brain involved in emotional learning and in activating the fight-or-flight response. They noted strong similarities between gay men and straight women, and lesbians and straight men.


This significant study adds to the growing evidence pointing to a biological connection with homosexual orientation. For Latter-day Saints, the findings of this new research give us all the more reason to reject the view that homosexuality consists merely of what a person does. It points us toward the understanding, long advanced by gay people themselves, that it's "who you are."

Photo showing connectivity in the amygdala from New Scientist.

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4 Comments:

Blogger MoHoHawaii said...

Duh.

[The research] points us toward the understanding, long advanced by gay people themselves, that it's "who you are."

Why do we need MRIs and PET scans before we believe what has been "long advanced by gay people themselves"?

Jun 19, 2008, 3:31:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Does it really matter what happens in their brains? This has been likely for a long long time. In the end its a feeling and then a choice of how we react to those feelings. So now where it comes from determines whether or not it is OK? We CHOOSE to act on those feelings or not.

Sep 16, 2008, 9:47:00 AM  
Blogger Steven B said...

Anon, This is probably the most important piece of scientific research in the field of homosexuality since Simon LeVay's hypothalamous study of 1991. The reason these scientific findings are important is that they inform us about the nature of homosexuality.

If we advocate lesser rights for gays and lesbians it makes a difference when we learn that they are inherently different than their heterosexual counterparts.

If we argue that gays and lesbians should change their sexual orientation or live lives of celibacy, it can make a difference if we understand that science indicates that they are "wired" that way.

And if we believe in Biblical prohibitions against homosexual conduct, these findings of science just might encourage us to reevaluate our thinking on whether homosexual behavior is inherently sinful.

Sep 16, 2008, 8:50:00 PM  
Anonymous Blake said...

Steven: This research is very problematic. These scans show a very wide range of differences that have been ignored. However, even if we accept that at least for some there is no choice abut orientation, there is a choice about being sexually active. That means that they are treated exactly like heterosexuals when it comes to sexual morality. No pre-marital or exatra-marital sex. Now the fact that hetero couples can and often do generate off-spring while a homosexual couple never will is a biological fact and it is not invidious discrimination when that distinction is recognized.

Oct 23, 2008, 10:42:00 AM  

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