Testosterone Turnaround: Baby Cries Boost ‘Manly’ Hormone
Testosterone inِ men isِ often associatedِ with sowing wild oats ratherِ than takingِ care ofِ babies, butِ a newِ study finds thatِ inِ some situations, hearing anِ infant’s cry canِ actuallyِ boost thisِ sex hormone inِ men.
The findings highlight theِ complex interplay betweenِ hormones, behavior, andِ our perception ofِ situations, saidِ study researcher Sari van Anders, a behavioral neuroendocrinologist atِ the University ofِ Michigan, Ann Arbor.
“Hormones canِ change depending onِ the context, andِ our behaviors andِ perceptions canِ even affect theseِ endocrine responses.
The ups and downs of testosterone
Both human andِ animal research, however, hasِ linked parenting toِ lowered testosterone levels inِ men; a fewِ outlier studies haveِ foundِ that theِ sound ofِ babies crying increases, ratherِ than decreases, male testosterone.
This completely contradicts theory and the larger body of evidence, van Anders said.
The discrepancy gotِ van Anders andِ her colleagues thinking.
History’s 12 Most Doting Dads] So theِ researchers set upِ anِ experiment usingِ interactive lifelike baby-dolls ofِ the sort oftenِ used toِ teach high-school students aboutِ the responsibilities ofِ parenthood.
Before theyِ began, theِ men providedِ saliva samples forِ testosterone measurements, andِ alsoِ answered questions aboutِ their mood.
Babies and hormones
After theirِ attempts toِ calm theِ baby-dolls, theِ men providedِ a secondِ saliva sample soِ that researchers couldِ measure changesِ in theirِ testosterone overِ the experiment.
The results confirmed van Anders’ suspicion thatِ differentِ situations wouldِ haveِ differentِ hormonal effects.
The men whoِ comforted theِ babies unsuccessfully sawِ noِ testosterone changes.
According to van Anders, the opposing hormonal changes could be linked to different parenting behaviors.
Hearing anِ increasingly upset baby, withِ shrieking cries thatِ areِ rising, withoutِ beingِ able toِ provide a nurturant response mightِ cue a danger orِ emergency physiological response forِ infant protection, sheِ said.
That couldِ spur a flood ofِ testosterone, asِ theories haveِ linked higher testosterone toِ justِ this type ofِ I willِ protect youِ behavior.
Men whoseِ self-reports ofِ nurturing behavior andِ contact increased afterِ the experiment experienced moreِ of a decrease inِ testosterone, theِ researchers report inِ anِ upcoming issue ofِ the journal Hormones andِ Behavior.