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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)
 
 
 

Spatial abilities following prenatal androgen abnormality: targeting and mental rotations performance in individuals with congenital adrenal hyperplasia.

In most mammals, behaviors that show sex differences are influenced by androgen during early life. In the current study, the hypothesis that androgen influences the development of human spatial abilities was investigated. Participants included 40 females and 29 males with congenital adrenal hyperplasia (CAH), a genetic disorder that causes overproduction of adrenal androgens beginning prenatally, and 29 unaffected female and 30 unaffected male relatives of individuals with CAH. Participants ranged in age from 12-45 years. Measures of spatial abilities included two mental rotations tasks and two targeting tasks, all of which showed large sex differences favoring males in the unaffected relative controls. Females with CAH (exposed to higher than normal levels of androgen prenatally) performed better than unaffected females on the targeting tasks, and resembled unaffected males and males with CAH in this respect. However, females with CAH did not perform better than unaffected females on the measures of mental rotations abilities. Males with CAH showed unaltered performance on the targeting tasks, and impaired performance on the mental rotations tasks. Results are discussed in terms of differences in experiential and hormonal contributions to different spatial abilities, as well as in terms of possible differences in critical periods for hormonal influences on targeting versus mental rotations abilities. Specifically, we speculate that, although androgen may influence targeting abilities prenatally, if hormones influence the development of mental rotations ability, they do so at some other time, perhaps during the first six months of postnatal life.[1]

References

  1. Spatial abilities following prenatal androgen abnormality: targeting and mental rotations performance in individuals with congenital adrenal hyperplasia. Hines, M., Fane, B.A., Pasterski, V.L., Mathews, G.A., Conway, G.S., Brook, C. Psychoneuroendocrinology (2003) [Pubmed]
 
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