DURHAM, N.C. -- The average man experiences hormone changes similar to the passive bonobo prior to competition, but a "status-striving" man undergoes changes that mirror those found in a chimpanzee, say researchers from Duke and Harvard universities.
Are you a status striver? Then you've got more in common with chimps.
A new study published Monday (today) in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences reveals differing hormone levels in our two closest relatives, bonobos and chimpanzees, in anticipation of competition.
Chimpanzees live in male-dominated societies where status is paramount and aggression can be severe. In bonobos, a female is always the most dominant and tolerance can allow for more flexible cooperation and food-sharing.
If your body pumps out more testosterone before competition then you are more like a chimp./
Human males usually experience an increase in cortisol before many types of competition in a similar way as seen in the bonobos. However, if men have what is called a "high power motive," or a strong desire to achieve high status, they experience an increase in testosterone before a competition.
"These results suggest that the steroid hormone shifts that are correlated with the competitive drive of men are shared through descent with other apes," Wobber said.
Human males who win react in an atypical manner by pumping out testosterone
While some men may seem more bonobo-like before competition and others more chimpanzee-like, something unique about human males is that after competition they experience an increase in testosterone if they win or a decrease in testosterone if they lose -- which accounts for giddy or depressed sports fans following a win or loss. This variation in hormones post-competition was not observed in either chimpanzees or bonobos.
Maybe guys like to watch sports and root for a team because they want to experience that testosterone high that comes from winning.
|Share |||Randall Parker, 2010 June 28 11:13 PM Brain Species Compare|