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    The fraternal birth order effect (FBOE) is the phenomenon whereby the probability that a man has a same-sex sexual orientation in adulthood increases with each biological older brother. Several studies have found evidence that the FBOE is limited to right-handed men, and left-handed men do not show an FBOE. Recent debates about the appropriate methods for quantifying the FBOE center on distinguishing the FBOE from other effects, such as the female fecundity effect (FFE), whereby mothers more prone to bearing gay sons are also more fecund. The FBOE and FFE are confounded in that a real FFE will result in data consistent with the FBOE under some analyses. Here, we applied some recent proposed analytic methods for the FBOE to the property of handedness. A straightforward application of Khovanova's technique to the binary trait of handedness yielded support for a fraternal birth order effect consistent with the maternal immune hypothesis, in that the ratios of handedness differed between men with one older brother only, and men with one younger brother only, while no such effect was seen in women. This effect was not seen, however, when the confounding effects of parental age were controlled for. Models including factors to simultaneously test multiple posited effects find significant female fecundity effects, as well as paternal age and birth order effects on handedness in men, but no FBOE. The effects seen in women were different, with no fecundity or parental age effects, but birth order and sex of older siblings had effects. We conclude, based on this evidence, that many of the factors thought to contribute to sexual orientation in men may also have an influence on handedness, and further note that parental age is a potential confound which may be overlooked by some analyses of the FBOE.© 2023. The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature.


    Nathan T Bartlett, Janessa R Morin, Peter L Hurd. Does the Fraternal Birth Order Effect Influence Handedness? Archives of sexual behavior. 2023 Jul 06

    PMID: 37415027

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