MEN want sex and sex leads to fatherhood. If these two statements were propositions in a syllogism, then the logical conclusion would be that men want fatherhood. Observation, however, indicates that this is not always the case. As the number of women left, literally, holding the baby shows, quite a few men run a mile from fatherhood.
Of course, the statements are not part of a syllogism, for the word “fatherhood” has different meanings in the first sentence and the second and third ones—the first meaning is biological and the second social. Moreover, there are quite a few men who do not run a mile from the social form of fatherhood. And Dario Maestripieri of the University of Chicago thinks he has found a way to tell doting dads from deadbeats in advance: check a man’s reaction when he watches a smutty movie.
As they report in Psychological Science, they discovered that if a man scored a -3 on the baby questionnaire (which ran from -6, indicating no interest at all in babies, to +6, indicating a heartfelt love for changing nappies) he was likely to have experienced an increase in testosterone of 20 picograms per millilitre of saliva during the video. In contrast, the testosterone of a man who scored +3 was unlikely to increase at all. And, in the case of one participant who scored a +6, his testosterone level actually dropped by 10 picograms per millilitre during the showing. In contrast (and as expected), there was no correlation between attitudes to babies and any changes in testosterone levels that took place following the mock job interview and the arithmetic task.
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