Cerebral laterality for language is related to adult salivary testosterone levels but not digit ratio (2D:4D) in men: A functional transcranial Doppler ultrasound study


The adequacy of three competing theories of hormonal effects on cerebral laterality are compared using functional transcranial Doppler sonography (fTCD). Thirty-three adult males participated in the study (21 left-handers). Cerebral lateralization was measured by fTCD using an extensively validated word generation task. Adult salivary testosterone (T) and cortisol (C) concentrations were measured by luminescence immunoassay and prenatal T exposure was indirectly estimated by the somatic marker of 2nd to 4th digit length ratio (2D:4D). A significant quadratic relationship between degree of cerebral laterality for language and adult T concentrations was observed, with enhanced T levels for strong left hemisphere dominance and strong right hemisphere dominance. No systematic effects on laterality were found for cortisol or 2D:4D. Findings suggest that higher levels of T are associated with a relatively attenuated degree of interhemispheric sharing of linguistic information, providing support for the callosal and the sexual differentiation hypotheses rather than the Geschwind, Behan and Galaburda (GBG) hypothesis.

Brain and Language