The National Academy Of Sciences Online has conducted a study led by Dr. James Rilling, of Atlanta’s Emory University, that investigates the link between testes size and parenting amongst men. His team studied 70 fathers aged between 21 and 43, all with young children, and measured their testicles and used MRI scanning to monitor a region in the brain associated with parental involvement while they viewed photographs of children, including their own kids, expressing a range of emotions. Then the researchers had the men’s partners answer a questionnaire about how involved the fathers were in childcare. What did all of this discover? According to NBC News:
Men who more strongly engaged the brain’s pleasure centers, specifically the ventral tegmental area (VTA), in response to images of their own babies were also more likely to be nurturing according to the surveys. Men with strong VTA activation also tended to have smaller testicle volume.
Dr. Rilling admits that the study brings up a whole mess of new questions, such as:
Do men genetically predisposed to smaller testicles become more nurturing fathers, or does nurturing shrink testicles? Does life experience alter testicle size and then affect parenting? Are some men genetically predisposed to get more brain reward from nurturing, or do men who make a conscious effort to nurture get rewarded and learn to like it? Or both?
So cue the hundreds of men who when asked to change a diaper will now reply with:
I can’t babe, my boys will shrink.
It’s an interesting study, but I’m not sure how this helps us in the real world. Will women know be measuring their partner’s junk in an attempt to determine if they are daddy material? Will people who have a partner who has gigantic gonads now blame his bad parenting on this? Do any of you have first hand knowledge of this correlation and are you going to show your partner this article and say something like :
So this is why you never help with bath time!