Sexual-orientation-related differences in verbal fluency

Qazi Rahman, Sharon Abrahams, Glenn D Wilson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study examined the performance of 60 heterosexual men, 60 gay men, 60 heterosexual women, and 60 lesbians on 3 tests of verbal fluency known to show gender differences: letter, category, and synonym fluency. Gay men and lesbians showed opposite-sex shifts in their profile of scores. For letter fluency, gay men outperformed all other groups; lesbians showed the lowest scores. For category fluency, gay men and heterosexual women jointly outperformed lesbians and heterosexual men. Finally, gay men outperformed all other groups on synonym fluency, whereas lesbians and heterosexual men performed similarly. A difference between heterosexual men and women was demonstrated on category and synonym fluency only. The findings implicate within-sex differences in the functioning of the prefrontal and temporal cortices.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)240-6
Number of pages7
JournalCognitive Neuropsychology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2003


  • Adult
  • Education
  • Female
  • Functional Laterality
  • Homosexuality, Female
  • Homosexuality, Male
  • Humans
  • Intelligence Tests
  • Male
  • Psychomotor Performance
  • Sex Characteristics
  • Sexual Behavior
  • Verbal Behavior


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