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Male aggression

April 29, 2019

Psychology professor Steve Stewart-Williams provides a nice précis of the reasons to think that male aggression is rooted in biology, rather than in culture. Part of that, of course, is that throughout the world criminal violence mostly is committed by young men. That is hardly all:

Sex difference in aggression appears very early in life—usually before children take their first bite of their first birthday cake. From the moment they can move around under their own their steam, boys engage in more rough-and-tumble play than girls. The same sex difference is found in other juvenile primates, and appears to be related to testosterone exposure in the womb. In humans, the sex difference shows up long before kids understand that they’re boys or girls, so it can’t just be that they’re conforming to social expectations about how boys and girls ought to act.

The interesting thing here is that there actually isn’t much testosterone or sex hormone difference in infants and children before puberty. That surge occurred during fetal development. There is far more path dependence in biology than people want to recognize.

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