Foetal testosterone, social relationships, and restricted interests in children

  • Knickmeyer R
  • Baron-Cohen S
  • Raggatt P
 et al. 
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Abstract

BACKGROUND: Sex-differences exist in some areas of human social behaviour. In animals, foetal testosterone (fT) plays a central role in organising the brain and in later social behaviour. fT has also been implicated in language development, eye-contact, and spatial ability in humans.

METHODS: Fifty-eight children (35 male and 23 female), whose fT was analysed in amniotic fluid, were followed up at age 4. Their mothers completed the Children's Communication Checklist, a questionnaire assessing language, quality of social relationships and restricted interests.

RESULTS: fT was negatively correlated to quality of social relationships, taking sex-differences into account. fT was also positively correlated with restricted interests in boys.

CONCLUSIONS: These findings implicate fT in both social development and attentional focus. They may also have implications for understanding the sex ratio in autism.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Autism
  • Restricted interests
  • Sex-differences
  • Social relationships
  • Testosterone

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Authors

  • Rebecca Knickmeyer

  • Simon Baron-Cohen

  • Peter Raggatt

  • Kevin Taylor

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