12.12.2018 change 12.12.2018

Psychologists from the University of Warsaw study the development of male sexual orientation

Photo: Fotolia Photo: Fotolia

Better understanding of the biological mechanisms affecting the development of sexual orientation in men is the goal of a group of psychologists from the University of Warsaw. Researchers are looking for volunteers to participate in the "Project Orientation".

What has a greater impact on the development of our sexual orientation: biological factors or the process of socialization? The answer to this question is extremely complex, and scientists agree only on one thing - sexual orientation is not shaped in one particular way. The two best-founded scientific theories related to the development of sexual orientation concern genetic conditions and the effect of hormones in the prenatal period.

According to the scientists from Project Orientation, while a person is not born with a specific sexual orientation, biological factors certainly have an impact on its formation.

"It`s safe to say that there is a certain biological +predisposition+. To put it simply, we have a group of genes, the variability of which translates into mechanisms in our brain. Due to this, people - at an adult age - can be inclined to prefer contacts with a specific gender" - says Dr. Wojciech Dragan from the Faculty of Psychology of the University of Warsaw, science director of the project. "In the process of sexual orientation development, in addition to biological factors, the influence of environmental factors must also be taken into account" - he adds.

These factors are often identified only as upbringing or the environment, in which the subject is raised. Meanwhile, as the researchers point out, environmental factors also include hormonal activity in the prenatal period. That is why it is so important to better understand the biological impact on the development of sexual orientation. That is the idea behind Project Orientation.

Researchers from the Faculty of Psychology of the University of Warsaw decided to investigate various biological mechanisms related to the development of sexual orientation. Project Orientation is a scientific study financed with a National Science Centre grant, addressed to men under 45 - both homosexual and heterosexual. According to the researchers, participation in the study is an opportunity to learn more about the basics of your orientation.

The first stage of the study is an online survey that can be completed on the project website (www.orientacja.org). "In the questionnaire, we collect data on sexual orientation. Then we invite selected men to the second stage. One-hour meeting includes cognitive tests and collection of a saliva sample, which we use to examine the genotype" - says Monika Folkierska-Żukowska from Project Orientation. She adds that the researchers are still looking for volunteers to take part in the study. "The motivation, apart from a small remuneration, is above all the opportunity to learn more about yourself and the basics of your sexual orientation" - the researcher argues.

Scientists have already tested over half of the assumed 1.1 thousand people. Tests are performed regularly in Warsaw, Gdańsk and Poznań, but people living outside of these cities can also participate. The scientists inform about the away research sessions on a regular basis.

For more information about the project visit www.orientacja.org.

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