Gay Dads Show Brain Activity That Resembles Both a Mother and a Father: STUDY

A new study reveals how the brain activity of mothers and fathers reacts to a baby's cries, and also reveals that gay fathers display brain activity which resembles that of both a mother and a father, Reuters reports:

DadsIn the 20 mothers in the study, all primary caregivers, watching their babies triggered heightened activity in the brain's emotion-processing regions, particularly in a structure called the amygdala, which was five times more active than at baseline.

"These are regions that respond unconsciously to signs of an infants' needs, and that derive deep emotional reward from seeing the baby," Feldman said.

For the 21 heterosexual fathers – who were very involved in raising their baby but whose wives took the parenting lead – watching their infant increased activation of cognitive circuits, particularly a structure that interprets a baby's cries and non-verbal cues. It is the region that knows which squirm means "I'm about to scream" and which means "change me."

But studying the brain activity of gay fathers revealed an interesting pattern:

The 48 gay fathers raising children with their husbands seemed to be both mom and dad, brain-wise. Their emotional circuits were as active as those of mothers and the interpretive circuits showed the same extra activity as that of heterosexual fathers'.

More data showed that the more time a man spent as a primary caregiver, the stronger the connection between the emotional and cognitive structures of the brain. This was heightened in the gay parents.


  1. Ken says

    I don’t know what this says about gay parenting, but it does show the incredible adaptability of the human brain. Amazing.

  2. Lymis says

    It will be interesting to see how the anti-gay groups spin this as a negative.

    It’s also already interesting that the people doing the study didn’t feel the need to wire up a few lesbian moms to see how their brains work.

    So, for gay dads at least, the kids do, in a sense, “get both a mother and a father.” Nice to have proof, but we’ve been saying that for decades.

  3. parkrunner says

    Does anyone have the link to the video of those two Dads and their kids? I like to show my Mom in-law the two kids messing with their Dads. Thanks in advance.

  4. MaryM says

    So this simply means that primary care-giving parents are more alert to their children.

    It says nothing about gay parenting.

  5. rick says

    It is unnatural. How can the brain of a man mimic that of a woman? It completely demolished my “theory” which by the the way was not based on scientific evidence.

  6. Regnerus says

    Have they studied the brain activity of bisexual men watching kittens? These studies don’t mean anything other than that most gay men secretly want to be women, so their brain waves adjust accordingly. Men can never be mothers, and women can never be fathers.

  7. Lucky says

    This doesn’t surprise me at all, and frankly I’d suspect the effect would be the same for anyone (gay or straight, male or female) who is the primary caregiver of an infant.

  8. Not that rob says

    God most of the people commenting on this are clearly to stupid to understand the study. This study shows that sex (or sexual orientation) doesn’t dictate how you respond to your child, its whether you are the primary or secondary caregiver.

  9. Randy says

    I’m a such a bad gay. I have zero parenting skills, and that’s the way it’s staying. No kids for me.

  10. Jerry says

    Amusing irony:
    My RSS reader clips the title of this post to “Gay Dads Show Brain Activity,” which was good for a giggle this morning.

  11. says

    to which Rick Warren replies, “I drove my closeted son to suicide!” and Mike Huckabee said “yeah, well my son tortured and killed a stray dog!”

  12. Socrates says

    This bears out previous studies which are fully described in the book GAY, STRAIGHT & THE REASON WHY. Gay people are born with a vast majority of traits that seem to combine some typically genetic traits that are to be found in both sexes. For example, straight men’s brains are better at roating images than straight women. Straight women’s verbal/linguistic skills are stronger. Gay men trend towards weaker rotational imaging skills and trend more towards stronger verbal/linguisic skills.

  13. Socrates says

    Also, infant boys who grow up straight tend to look at objects. Girls who will grow up gay look at faces, more often. Infant boys who will grow up gay tend, nore often, to follow faces.

  14. ian says

    interesting. i am reminded of the two-spirit people in many native american cultures. those, frequently whom we would know as gay men and women, who are regarded as having the ability to see into both the male and female worlds. perhaps this study indicates that is in fact accurate. i take this study’s results as a positive.

  15. Gary says

    I think it’s called guilt. Brain activity studies are usually crap. This makes good filler for a gay website. Everyone is clawing the walls for validation.

  16. Bill says

    @ Lymis : one reason for not including an equal number of lesbian moms (you’d have to ask them if this applies in their case) is lack of sufficient funding.