October 01, 2006
High Testosterone Men More Abusive To Dogs

Testosterone leads to dog abuse.

Robert Josephs, associate professor of psychology, and Amanda Jones, graduate student, examined how testosterone levels influence pet owners’ behavior and, in turn, how they affect the hormonal changes in their animals during stressful situations.

Their findings appear in a paper titled “Interspecies Hormonal Interactions Between Man and the Domestic Dog” in the current issue of Hormones and Behavior, a biology journal.

The researchers found men’s testosterone levels determined their behavior toward their dogs, after the dogs performed poorly in a statewide agility competition. Men with high levels of testosterone punished their dogs by hitting them and yelling at them whereas men with lower levels supported their dogs by petting and praising the losing animals.

The response of these men is probably counterproductive. The abuse causes brain damage that inhibits memory formation. Therefore learning is impaired and the dogs become less likely to learn the lessons they need to excel.

Punished dogs showed an alarming rise in the stress hormone cortisol, a neurotoxic substance that can lead to destruction of cells in the hippocampus, leading to memory deficits. Chronically elevated cortisol levels also weaken the immune system. These consequences might be especially critical for dogs in high stress jobs in which memory and health are critical, such as bomb-sniffing, police and guide dog environments.

Although there is much research demonstrating how changes in an individual’s hormone levels influence behavior toward another individual of the same species, this is the first research to examine effects across the species boundary.

I've had a couple of bosses who suffered from testosterone toxicity. They also exerted counterproductive effects on the workplace. Competitiveness and drive help to a point. But these drives have to be coupled to strong discipline and a considerable amount of wisdom or else the aggressiveness just destroys.

Anyway, I feel sorry for these abused dogs. Guys who hit a dog for failing to do well in agility training ought to go find a sport that forces them to perform rather than torture dogs into performing.

When genetic engineering of offspring becomes possible will the average male baby get genetically engineered to have higher or lower testosterone than happens now naturally? Will parents want to have assertive, athletic, and dominant sons and therefore opt for more testosterone?

Share |      Randall Parker, 2006 October 01 11:11 AM  Brain Violence


Comments
The Superfluous Man said at October 1, 2006 3:08 PM:

I'm curious as to how well high testosterone can be accomodated, especially as regards crime. Rushton covers racial differences in testosterone levels here, p. 18 (http://www.charlesdarwinresearch.org/Race_Evolution_Behavior.pdf).

Rob said at October 1, 2006 7:49 PM:

I wonder when we'll be able to institutionalize or imprison people who torture animals from the first time they get caught until they die.

I didn't read the paper, but how strong was the correlation? Does high IQ mitigate, were high and low T men matched for other traits (cough, race, cough)?

Anonymous said at November 11, 2006 11:58 AM:

I think that some people will opt for higher testosterone, and others will opt to make their sons gentle, extremely intelligent types. Expect to see a split between the fathers who want a quarterback for a son and the families who want their son to do well in business or academia or whatever. To be honest, not everyone wishes they could be the assertive, dominant types, and may not wish the same for their kids. Some people take a more cooperative than competitive standpoint on the world. See the parents of today who will not use physical punishment with their kids for an example (it's a bad idea, but I see where they're coming from).

It may lead to two separate genetic groups of people developing; big dumb (probably as smart or smarter than we are currently, but still not optimal intelligence) sports stars and women with huge breasts and intelligent, possibly unmotivated androgenous people.

Which would you rather be? Black or Asian?

Rodger Dodger said at November 11, 2006 8:45 PM:

That PDF file you linked is such a load. Notice how whites are always shown as "not quite as good, but very close" to the "best" races on each thing they bring up. As far as sexual potency, the whites aren't quite as good as blacks, but they aren't far behind. On intelligence, they're not quite as smart as asians, but they are very close.

They just want to belive that their race is superior, and the only way to do that in the modern era in which REAL SCIENCE EXISTS is to say that they're just the "best all around".

It's just more racist crap from stupid white people who want to think they're better than everyone else. White people, here's a tip if you want people to think you're smart: DON'T BE SUCH A RACIST.


John Smith said at August 3, 2007 4:48 PM:

Uh...look, if being a racist is defined as making note of trends that correlate highly with one's self identified ethnic group, then alot of us are racist. Look at the evidence first, and then only call someone a racist if they either say something hateful (that goes against the evidence) or if they note that one is superior to the other. Just saying that one race has intercourse more frequently than the other isn't a big deal.

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