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October 2021

Dimensions of psychological masculinity-femininity in adult twins from opposite-sex and same-sex pairs

Author(s): Martin, N. G.

Journal/Book: Behav Genet. 2000; 30: 233 Spring St, New York, NY 10013, USA. Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publ. 19-28.

Abstract: Male and female twins with opposite-sex co-twins were compared to twins with same-sex cotwins on three independent dimensions of masculinity-femininity, in order to examine the hypothesis that the hormones of the co-twin might have an effect on prenatal masculinization. The analysis was originally carried out for an older cohort from the Australian Twin Registry (2647 pairs, mean age 41.2), and then repeated in a younger cohort (1503 pairs, mean age 23.2). For women, the results on two of the three scales support and extend that of an earlier large study in Finland by Rose ct al. (1994), who found no effect of sex of co-twin on feminine interests. One of the two scales contrasted worried and calm individuals, the other, confiding and reserved ones. The third scale, willingness to break or bend rules, showed a small effect of shared environmental influence, and it lay in the expected direction for a prenatal hormonal effect-females with a male co-twin scored higher (more like males). Most previous studies have not looked at the effect of sex of co-twin on males. The present study detected several such effects, although all were small in magnitude. The pattern was complex: sometimes the effect was in the masculine direction, sometimes in the feminine direction; sometimes there was agreement between the older and younger cohorts, sometimes not. Overall, the results suggest that no simple masculinization hypothesis-prenatal or postnatal-will adequately account for all the evidence. Age, sex, and aspect of masculinity-femininity must be taken into account.

Note: Article Loehlin JC, Univ Texas, Dept Psychol, Austin,TX 78712 USA

Keyword(s): opposite-sex twins; masculinity-femininity; prenatal masculinization; hormones; OTOACOUSTIC EMISSIONS; AUDITORY SYSTEMS; HORMONE TRANSFER; PLAY

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