The 'Gay Brain' Explained

  • metta

    Posts: 39133

    Apr 25, 2010 6:11 AM GMT







    http://fora.tv/2010/03/31/Dr_Louann_Brizendine_The_Male_Brain

  • UFJocknerd

    Posts: 392

    Apr 25, 2010 1:13 PM GMT
    Lost me at "pheromones." Humans don't use pheromones. The vomeronasal organ is vestigial at best in humans.

    Looking over her web site, her book seems like a bio-focused derivative of the Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus malarky (though I've not read it).
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    Apr 25, 2010 1:32 PM GMT
    You know, I find it fascinating that they haven't found the "gay gene". One thing that's not debatable is that sexual orientation is not a choice. Ignorant people can debate that someone chooses to be homosexual but that's sort of a joke for those who actually are homosexual and know it's no more of a choice than any of their physical characteristics. But why haven't they found genetic proof yet like they've found for almost all other predispositions? If it's nurture instead of nature, how can that be when there are so many homosexuals with so many different life experiences? Some were molested, some weren't, some had domineering mothers, some didn't, etc. Sexual orientation continues to be such a great mystery. I think that's why the political/cultural/religious debate on the issue continues. I hope science comes up with something definitive soon. One way or the other.
  • calibro

    Posts: 8888

    Apr 25, 2010 3:11 PM GMT
    UFJocknerd saidLost me at "pheromones." Humans don't use pheromones. The vomeronasal organ is vestigial at best in humans.

    Looking over her web site, her book seems like a bio-focused derivative of the Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus malarky (though I've not read it).


    I sorta agree with you. Yes, there aren't pheromones in the strict definition of them, but smell does hold a significant role in attraction. I remember one particular study where women were asked to rank the attractiveness of men by smelling their work out clothes after they had worked out. The the men that the women found to be most attractive had the most different immune properties than the women who picked them, essentially saying that women were being attracted to partners who would provide the most genetically diverse immune abilities for offspring. I think it's actually quite amazing how our body has evolved to decode smells in ways we're still learning that affect how we feel about others.
  • UFJocknerd

    Posts: 392

    Apr 25, 2010 3:25 PM GMT
    muscles4muscles saidYou know, I find it fascinating that they haven't found the "gay gene".


    There's never going to be a "gay gene." Almost nothing is solely determined by a single gene with no other genetic contribution and no environmental influences. The mostly likely thing that will eventually be uncovered is a large set of genetic markers that code for predispositions that interact with in utero hormones and cultural influences (see Bem's Exotic-becomes-erotic for an early picture of what this might look like).

    It's worth noting that our definition of sexual orientation as static an immutable is a modern, Western convention and isn't the case across time and culture. You might think of it like alcoholism, in some ways: Sure, there's genetic predispositions to alcoholism. But, if you're born and live in Saudi Arabia you'll probably never have the chance to act on your genetic predispositions. Likewise, if your cultural milieu precludes the consideration of same-sex sexuality as viable, it may never even occur to you to express it. Conversely, if you're born without any same-sex attraction predisposition, but live in a culture free from restrictive definitions of sexuality, you may actively choose to engage in same-sex sexual behavior.
  • UFJocknerd

    Posts: 392

    Apr 25, 2010 3:30 PM GMT
    calibro said
    I sorta agree with you. Yes, there aren't pheromones in the strict definition of them, but smell does hold a significant role in attraction. I remember one particular study where women were asked to rank the attractiveness of men by smelling their work out clothes after they had worked out. The the men that the women found to be most attractive had the most different immune properties than the women who picked them, essentially saying that women were being attracted to partners who would provide the most genetically diverse immune abilities for offspring. I think it's actually quite amazing how our body has evolved to decode smells in ways we're still learning that affect how we feel about others.


    Well, mere olfactory appreciation is vastly different from pheromone action. If there was some transfer of pheromonal response to the olfactory system that's really interesting and there is some evidence for it (the study you mentioned and those related to it, though many of those are pretty deeply flawed and conducted by folks who own perfume companies... but the McClintock Effect [menstrual cycle synchronicity] is a good example too). But, that's just not the same as pheromones and if Brizendine was up on her stuff she wouldn't throw that word around.
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    Apr 25, 2010 3:34 PM GMT
    I read something on a BBC website several years ago... I wish I could remember exactly what and where but I can't.. It was a large study of sexual orientation and involved brain mapping (among other things). They found that the particular part of the brain believed to control sexual attraction was more similar between gay males and heterosexual females than between gay males and straight males... went the same way for lesbian women and straight men. So basically the gays we have girl brains. ;)
    Vague references I know, if I find it I'll post the link.
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    Apr 25, 2010 3:39 PM GMT
    This is not the same article but similar.
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/7456588.stm
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    Apr 25, 2010 3:41 PM GMT
    calibro said

    were asked to rank the attractiveness of men by smelling their work out clothes after they had worked out. .


    What a great job, how do I apply? Y'all takin' applications?

    calibro said

    essentially saying that women were being attracted to partners who would provide the most genetically diverse immune abilities for offspring. I think it's actually quite amazing how our body has evolved to decode smells in ways we're still learning that affect how we feel about others.


    So, when someone says "I Love You," is it appropriate to demonstrate your post-modernity by saying back, "I can smell your immunity from here, baby,icon_biggrin.gif and it is making me rock hard."
  • UFJocknerd

    Posts: 392

    Apr 25, 2010 3:46 PM GMT
    Tractorboy saidThis is not the same article but similar.
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/7456588.stm


    Original study:
    http://www.pnas.org/content/105/27/9403.full

    Yeah, there is some interesting neuro work in this area, and in things like developal asymmetry. But, again, these findings aren't definitive--it wasn't that *all* of the gay men has smaller right hemisphere volume than the straight men, just that they tended to. Some of the Gay men would have had larger R hemi volume than some of the straight men. So, again, contributions but not determination.
  • calibro

    Posts: 8888

    Apr 25, 2010 3:46 PM GMT
    UFJocknerd said
    calibro said
    I sorta agree with you. Yes, there aren't pheromones in the strict definition of them, but smell does hold a significant role in attraction. I remember one particular study where women were asked to rank the attractiveness of men by smelling their work out clothes after they had worked out. The the men that the women found to be most attractive had the most different immune properties than the women who picked them, essentially saying that women were being attracted to partners who would provide the most genetically diverse immune abilities for offspring. I think it's actually quite amazing how our body has evolved to decode smells in ways we're still learning that affect how we feel about others.


    Well, mere olfactory appreciation is vastly different from pheromone action. If there was some transfer of pheromonal response to the olfactory system that's really interesting and there is some evidence for it (the study you mentioned and those related to it, though many of those are pretty deeply flawed and conducted by folks who own perfume companies... but the McClintock Effect [menstrual cycle synchronicity] is a good example too). But, that's just not the same as pheromones and if Brizendine was up on her stuff she wouldn't throw that word around.


    I don't argue that it's the same as a pheromone, hence my saying there are smells as opposed to pheromones. I didn't know though about the dubiousness of the study I referred to.
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    Apr 25, 2010 4:35 PM GMT
    UFJocknerd said
    muscles4muscles saidYou know, I find it fascinating that they haven't found the "gay gene".



    It's worth noting that our definition of sexual orientation as static an immutable is a modern, Western convention and isn't the case across time and culture. You might think of it like alcoholism, in some ways: Sure, there's genetic predispositions to alcoholism. But, if you're born and live in Saudi Arabia you'll probably never have the chance to act on your genetic predispositions. Likewise, if your cultural milieu precludes the consideration of same-sex sexuality as viable, it may never even occur to you to express it. Conversely, if you're born without any same-sex attraction predisposition, but live in a culture free from restrictive definitions of sexuality, you may actively choose to engage in same-sex sexual behavior.



    Are you saying you disagree with the modern, Western definition of sexual orientation? Someone could go their whole life without acting on their sexual desires due to culture, religion or whatever but that doesn't take away their inherent desire. I could choose to have sex with a woman but that doesn't make me heterosexual.
  • UFJocknerd

    Posts: 392

    Apr 25, 2010 4:50 PM GMT
    muscles4muscles said
    Are you saying you disagree with the modern, Western definition of sexual orientation? Someone could go their whole life without acting on their sexual desires due to culture, religion or whatever but that doesn't take away their inherent desire. I could choose to have sex with a woman but that doesn't make me heterosexual.


    I disagree with binary, essentialist, and static views of sexual orientation. Our culture determines the definitions we seek out; if we didn't have a culture focused on essentialism and identity politics, the scientific questions we ask would be different. Nothing, not even biological sex, is completely understandable from a restricted or essentialist point of view. I think the neuro study cited earlier is a good example of this:evidence points toward predispositions, not determinations.
  • DrewT

    Posts: 1327

    Apr 25, 2010 4:54 PM GMT
    I actually got to take a look at this book yesterday after it being mentioned on the radio show I was on. I didn't read the whole thing, but I flipped through the book and read snippets. From what I read, while interesting, completely ignores factors such as socially constructed gender roles. As a book on gendered brains and the factors at play, it seems odd she'd neglect to study how society and social ties affects the development of the brain.

    It's a nice start and certainly worthwhile to take a look at, but I think she's missing the big picture. I clearly remember a passage on toys, and that boys will not play with boy's toys that are 'pink' or anyway feminized (which can vary from culture to culture, and is not wired into the brain, and that leads me to believe she's ignored the social impact of culture on the brain's development and processes), even if it was say a typical truck but instead was pink. I serious think social factors play a huge role in gender identity and gender roles, and I think she's underestimated this role in her research.
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    Apr 25, 2010 8:21 PM GMT
    UFJocknerd said

    There's never going to be a "gay gene."



    These are pretty gay!

    designer_jeans.jpg
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    Apr 25, 2010 8:45 PM GMT
    This is so silly! Gays don't have any brain at all! Gays have emotion, attitude, and contrariness. Gays would have no ideas at all if those weren't in opposition to thoughts by someone else. Present an idea, and a gay will reflexively state the opposite proposition. It may sound like an idea, but it is merely a predictable contrary reaction, nothing more, a hollow thought they cannot comprehend themselves, a mindless knee-jerk to an external input, like when a frog leg jerks to an electrical stimulus on the dissection table.


    That's because gays never have any original ideas, lacking any semblance of a brain. And the corollary is that anyone with a brain cannot be gay. Therefore, lack of a brain, intelligence, and being a complete idiot are the basis for the ideal gaydar. Show me a moronic man and I will show you a gay one. Knowing this is why my own gaydar is so accurate.
  • Anto

    Posts: 2035

    Apr 25, 2010 8:49 PM GMT
    UFJocknerd said
    muscles4muscles saidYou know, I find it fascinating that they haven't found the "gay gene".


    There's never going to be a "gay gene." Almost nothing is solely determined by a single gene with no other genetic contribution and no environmental influences. The mostly likely thing that will eventually be uncovered is a large set of genetic markers that code for predispositions that interact with in utero hormones and cultural influences (see Bem's Exotic-becomes-erotic for an early picture of what this might look like).

    It's worth noting that our definition of sexual orientation as static an immutable is a modern, Western convention and isn't the case across time and culture. You might think of it like alcoholism, in some ways: Sure, there's genetic predispositions to alcoholism. But, if you're born and live in Saudi Arabia you'll probably never have the chance to act on your genetic predispositions. Likewise, if your cultural milieu precludes the consideration of same-sex sexuality as viable, it may never even occur to you to express it. Conversely, if you're born without any same-sex attraction predisposition, but live in a culture free from restrictive definitions of sexuality, you may actively choose to engage in same-sex sexual behavior.



    I wouldn't make that kind of comparison because there is a biological basis for sexual attraction being innate, like to reproduce for example. Addiction to alcohol, that's just something that happens to do something to the system once exposed to it that some are more susceptible to than others.

    I think sexual orientation is biologically programmed and some people turn out gay because of a variation that happens in the system.
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    Apr 25, 2010 8:51 PM GMT
    The pheromone thing is absurd, you cant smell when you watch porn right?
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    Apr 25, 2010 9:09 PM GMT
    first, i've mentioned this before but it deserves repeating: the search for a "gay gene" is a veiled attempt to find out ways to "fix" it. they are not concurrently looking for a "straight gene," which i think is telling. they don't look for the straight gene because they think that is "normal," and the "gay" gene is some kind of genetic anomaly that should stick out like a big dick.

    second, here is how i know i am gay and not bi. when i walk into any public area with people around, i look at the men FIRST finding guys that i am attracted to. when i look around and see women i am "attracted" to. i can't deny that some women are, to me, more "attractive" than others...i find them pleasing to look at. but the difference is i would rather actually go to bed with the men rather than the women. in fact, i would like to spend most of my time hanging around guys than women. i just like guys more.

    there are definitely women i would bunk up with before some guys, but my primary interest is in guys.

    i do find it funny when you hear about someone how is "gay, they just don't know it yet," or they're the only ones who don't know they're gay. it makes me wonder what really being "gay" is.
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    Apr 25, 2010 9:42 PM GMT
    rangard saidfirst, i've mentioned this before but it deserves repeating: the search for a "gay gene" is a veiled attempt to find out ways to "fix" it. they are not concurrently looking for a "straight gene," which i think is telling. they don't look for the straight gene because they think that is "normal," and the "gay" gene is some kind of genetic anomaly that should stick out like a big dick.

    second, here is how i know i am gay and not bi. when i walk into any public area with people around, i look at the men FIRST finding guys that i am attracted to. when i look around and see women i am "attracted" to. i can't deny that some women are, to me, more "attractive" than others...i find them pleasing to look at. but the difference is i would rather actually go to bed with the men rather than the women. in fact, i would like to spend most of my time hanging around guys than women. i just like guys more.

    there are definitely women i would bunk up with before some guys, but my primary interest is in guys.

    i do find it funny when you hear about someone how is "gay, they just don't know it yet," or they're the only ones who don't know they're gay. it makes me wonder what really being "gay" is.

    You do better than me. In such a public situation as you describe, I barely even see females. I certainly am polite & courteous if I have any obligatory interactions with them, but otherwise I am blind to them.

    Your point about the "gay gene" is insightful. Why not a search for the "sexual orientation" gene that determines the sexual interest for all humans?

    Instead, it's treated like the breast cancer gene, or a gene that causes some other unwanted malady. Implying it may still be the case that being gay is considered an abnormality, a deviation, and scientists continue to look for the "fault" in our genes rather than for an ordinary factor, as natural as those that determine color of hair or eyes, or any other trait we accept as being within the normal range.