Prenatal testosterone does not explain sex differences in spatial ability

Teemu Toivainen, Giulia Pannini, Kostas A. Papageorgiou, Margherita Malanchini, Kaili Rimfeld, Nicholas Shakeshaft, Yulia Kovas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

4 Citations (Scopus)
170 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

The most consistent sex differences in cognition are found for spatial ability, in which males, on average, outperform females. Utilizing a twin design, two studies have shown that females with male co-twins perform better than females with female co-twins on a mental rotation task. According to the Twin Testosterone Transfer hypothesis (TTT) this advantage is due to in-uterine transmission of testosterone from males to females. The present study tested the TTT across 14 different spatial ability measures, including mental rotation tasks, in a large sample of 19–21-year-old twins. Males performed significantly better than females on all spatial tasks, with effect sizes ranging from η2 = 0.02 to η2 = 0.16. Females with a male co-twin outperformed females with a female co-twin in two of the tasks. The effect sizes for both differences were negligible (η2 < 0.02). Contrary to the previous studies, our results gave no indication that prenatally transferred testosterone, from a male to a female twin, influences sex differences in spatial ability.
Original languageEnglish
Article number13653
Number of pages8
JournalNature Scientific Reports
Volume8
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 12 Sep 2018

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Prenatal testosterone does not explain sex differences in spatial ability'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this

    Toivainen, T., Pannini, G., Papageorgiou, K. A., Malanchini, M., Rimfeld, K., Shakeshaft, N., & Kovas, Y. (2018). Prenatal testosterone does not explain sex differences in spatial ability. Nature Scientific Reports, 8, [13653]. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-018-31704-y