Re: Evolution, aggression, and men: Hormones matter?

Tim Benham (
Fri, 7 Jul 1995 10:50:02 GMT

Bryant ( wrote:

: Recently, in a thread on evolutionary psychology, some of us have argued
: a while about whether the universal sexual dimorphism in human aggression
: is the legacy of social learning (modern environments) or natural/sexual
: selection upon male brains (past environments). I found the following
: stuff very interesting, and would like to hear what y'all think!

: Regarding:
: Christiansen and Winkler. 1992. Hormonal, Anthropometrical, and
: Behavioral Correlates of Physical Aggression in !Kung San Men of Nambia.
: Aggressive Behavior 19:271-280.
: --Bizygomatic breadth and bimammilary distance both correlated
: significantly (p<.05) with aggressiveness. Big guys acted on violent
: instincts more often (surprise, surprise...)

Hmm, I've started working out. Let's see...

: Since male body size and androgen levels correlate positively, it seems
: likely that sex hormones have both direct and indirect (body size)
: effects on male aggression.

: --The best (or most interesting) for last: Acculturation and violent or
: nonviolent behavior revealed no relationship at all between social
: influence and aggressive behavior! That surprised the heck out of me,
: but seems very, very relevant in our discussion about whether human
: aggression is better explained as *inherently* sexually dimorphic (as
: male hormone associations with violence suggest) or "socially learned," a
: theory contradicted by this study.

It doesn't seem very surprising to me. The only two cultures involved
were Namibian and !Kung and so far we've no reason to expect differential
acculturation wrt violence. If the cultures were Quaker and US inner city
I would be more surprised.

: Thoughts?

: Bryant

People who like this sort of thing
will find this the sort of thing they like.
Tim J.Benham