Testosterone is getting a bit of a bad rap in the news lately. Our recent post about testosterone’s effects on stock market traders may help to explain trading behavior, while another article at Wired magazine discusses how testosterone may be “The Perfect Weapon of Mass Destruction”.
The article is written by Alexis Madriga and is based on an interview with the authors of Sex and War. In their book, UC Berkeley obstetrician, Malcolm Potts and science writer Thomas Hayden, explore how technology and testosterone influence the warring behavior observed in primates.
…But the most fascinating parts of the book look at how modern technology has interacted with our Stone Age brains’ risk calculators to produce the brutality and aggression of the world today.
In this Wired.com interview with Hayden and Potts, they talk about the evolutionary adaptation that allows us to kill our enemies, how chimps and bonobos inform our knowledge of human nature, and why the most destructive weapon might be a hormone, not a bomb.
Wired.com: Why did you write this book? Why sex and war as topics?
Sex and War co-author Thomas Hayden: Let me tell you the why from two different perspectives. For me personally, the why goes back to the beginning of the Iraq war in 2003. I was a correspondent at a national news magazine (U.S. News & World Report) at the time and the war was the big story. As a science reporter, I was trying to understand the big story of the day through the lens of science.
I was struck by how big a factor the desire for revenge for 9/11 seemed to be. I was struck by the momentum, the emotional momentum, in the rush to war. It seemed once we’d been talking about war for a while, it almost became inevitable, despite lots of logical arguments against going to war. I wanted to understand why that was.
Read the rest of the article at Wired.com…