Re: Current Signals of Increases in Testosterone

MSCob (
5 Oct 1996 23:52:00 -0400

Re: age 11 to 14," (Science 1987; 236: 1110). I suggest early puberty
>> interferes with this important final development of the frontal lobes.
>> example, it was reported that standardized test scores of 13- and 17-
>> year-olds of 1986 are lower than those of 1970, whereas the scores of
>> year-old children have remained relatively equal (Science 1988; 241:
>> 1751). I suggest this decline is the effect of puberty, which, in this
>> country, on average, is now occurring between age 9 and 13. Our
>> children are, on average, losing the ability to handle math and

But IQ scores are rising with the secular trend! So I agree that
poor schools and the general cultural chaos are a better explanation for
poor school performance than early puberty is.

This is a fascinating thread. But in trying to explain the level of
violence and impulsive behavior in contemporary society, don't forget that
the U.S., at least, has had approximately equally high levels in the past,
during times of social unrest, as for instance in times of high
immigration, or times of rapid growth in organized crime due to laws
prohibiting imbibing of illegal substances (i.e. alcohol). And while
informal observations have suggested that Asians tend to be more passive
by nature than Europeans, whatever the truth of those impressions, Asians
have contributed their share to the genocides of this century, low
testosterone or not. Therefore, many other powerful factors besides the
testosterone level affect the level of violence in a society.

Nevertheless, this is a fascinating hypothesis. But what would have
happened to high-testosterone persons in the past, preventing them from
out-reproducing the low-testosterone persons at the current rapid rate?
Were more of them thrown in prison or executed or sent off to war? Or
maybe, in Europe at least, they were all exported to the colonies (i.e.
us. There is certainly something to that). Is there something about
modern industrial society that does not select against high-testosterone
persons as previous agrarian societies have done?