Hormones and Aggression and Connection to Humans

There have been a number of shown similarities between the hormonal changes in baboons and humans and the effect that it has on their behavior.

These ups and downs in hormone levels will cause the behavior of the individual to change. Most of these behavioral changes will be associated with aggression, persistence, and stressful tendencies in prepubescent or pubescent boys. However, not all hormone differences are the same.

According to http://www.csun.edu, testosterone level (T-Level) changes have caused negative behavior in both species. If the T- Levels rise, there is an increase of aggressive behavior in males. When living in the wild, like the baboons do, this is actually a beneficial trait to have. This increase in aggression will lead the baboon to social successes, and allow them to be the dominant baboon in their group. In humans, it is not so beneficial. In fact, it has the opposite effect. If someone is known to be an aggressive individual, their peers will not want to interact with them. This leads to isolation and mental instability. So although the hormonal change causes the same behavioral effect, the social effects are much different.

An article on http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov shows that mental effects caused by an increase in CORT (Cortisol) have been shown to be the same in both baboons and humans. In a study done of humans, it was found that high levels of Cortisol can be influenced by parenting behaviors, and can lead to chronic stress, persistence, and aggression. Although the persistent behavior has not been recognized in baboons yet, they have shown chronic stress as a result from high Cortisol levels. This is helpful to animal scientists who specialize in behavior. Knowing the results of certain parenting styles, and how it can lead to certain behaviors is helpful. It allows them to further study how the parenting of baboon on it’s baby can lead to a baboon who wants to be on the top of the social hierarchy.

However, not all baboon and human hormone levels are linked. In the book, DHEA in Human Health and Aging, DHEAS levels vary in the behavioral effects. Humans, particularly prepubescent boys, have been shown to have high levels of persistence when their DHEAS levels spike. Baboons will have an increase of DHEAS, but no relationship between the increase in the hormone and persistent tendencies has been shown.

Screenshot 2016-05-25 at 12.46.54 PM
This can visually show how DHEAS does not affect the baboons.
Screenshot 2016-05-25 at 12.49.39 PM
This can show that all three major aggression hormones have effects on humans.

These links between the hormones and behavior can help all scientists. Evolutionists can see that this correlation could be a result of a recent shared ancestor, and an evolutionary relationship. Scientists could also use one species to see how different conditions may affect the other; if it affects one species a certain way, the other species could experience a similar, or the same, effect. The problem with relying on the species sharing the same effects, is that they don’t always. These assumptions have the possibility of leading to incorrect information.

 

By: Emilie Huber and Abby Meckstroth

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