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Behav Neurosci. 2009 Apr;123(2):252-6. doi: 10.1037/a0014816.

Hair whorl direction and sexual orientation in human males.

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Biological and Experimental Psychology Group, School of Biological Sciences, Queen Mary, University of London, United Kingdom.


Hair whorl direction is a somatic feature that is organized early during neurodevelopment and unlikely to be influenced by social factors. This study aimed to replicate a widely reported association by A. J. S. Klar (2003) between counterclockwise hair whorl direction and homosexuality in men, using more objective methodology. The authors took digital photographs of parietal surface hair whorls from 100 heterosexual men and 100 homosexual men who were predominantly right-handed. These images were rated for clockwise and counterclockwise direction (for which no more than 1 hair whorl was present) by 2 raters unaware of sexual orientation. The authors found no significant difference between heterosexual and homosexual men in hair whorl direction, but the authors did replicate the fraternal birth order effect (more older brothers for homosexual men). Number of older sisters was positively correlated with counterclockwise hair whorls in heterosexual men. These data were discussed in relation to prenatal factors assumed to play a role in the neurodevelopment of male homosexuality.

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