How testosterone affects society

Alvin Powell in The Harvard Gazette:

Testosterone’s wide-reaching effects occur not just in the human body, but across society, powering acts of aggression, violence, and the large disparity in their commission between men and women, according to Harvard human evolutionary biologist Carole Hooven.

Hooven, lecturer and co-director of undergraduate studies in Human Evolutionary Biology, waded directly into the nature versus nurture debate Thursday evening, laying out her case for the hormone’s function as a foundation for aspects of male behavior. She traced the role of testosterone in the natural world, pointing out its role in differentiating males from females across the animal kingdom. Its far higher levels in males — 10 to 20 times that in females — act as a switch that turns on genes, creating stronger, more heavily muscled individuals, along with more aggressive behavior.

From an evolutionary standpoint, the reason for these differences is the biological imperative to mate, said Hooven, whose recent book, “T: The Story of Testosterone, the Hormone that Dominates and Divides Us,” was published in July.

More here.