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The Trouble with Testosterone

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Kevin Patel

English 1A Section 34

Lappin, Linda

October 19, 2009

The Trouble with Testosterone

        Mankind, they are known to be the toughest species but what makes a man so tough is in question. It is said that the amount of testosterone effects how much aggression a man has. In the chapter The Trouble with Testosterone: Will Boys Just be Boys, the author Robert Sapolsky takes this debate into context. The amount of testosterone does not affect the amount of aggression a man has. It is perfectly normal for a man to have a healthy amount of testosterone and be able to control himself aggressively. Aggression comes from high levels of stress or complications in life, which lets out anger and has nothing to do with how much testosterone is in one’s body. 

        Robert Sapolsky who was born in 1957 is a biologisty and author. He is currently a professor at Stanford University in the Biological Sciences Department. Sapolsky grew up as a child in the rough streets of Brooklyn. He then went on to get a B.A. in biological anthropology from Harvard University. Sapolsky is most commonly known for his work in literature. Sapolsky studies the cortisol levels between the Alpha male and female and the subordinates to determine stress level.

Sapolsky states how there is a stereotype out there that men are responsible for much of the violence in the world. But there has to be a reason why, and many believe it is because men have testosterone. In the chapter, Sapolsky discusses how tests from millions of years ago in which a surly bull’s testicles were examined show a high level aggression but it is exceptionally inconclusive in what caused it. It can be said that aggressiveness increases the amount of testosterone one has and not the other way around; which many people believe is true. 

        Testosterone has nothing to do with the amount of aggression one has. Aggression comes from stressors in life and can happen to anyone, not only males. In a study with 5 monkeys, the monkey who had a hierarchial position of three was given testosterone shots. In the end it led to that monkey having exaggerated aggression, but it was aggression that was already there just hidden. It could also be said that ones environment has a lot to do with his levels of aggressiveness. For example, if it is a hostile and aggressive envirnment, it may lead to a much more aggressive person. Aggression can be a result from various causes, but in the end it is something that is controlled by your inner body.

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