This post is also available in: German
Exposure to high prenatal testosterone levels may contribute to genius.
Savant-style genius may be affected by the amount of testosterone you receive in the womb, according to a new University of Alberta study.
The roots of extraordinary genius have long been the subject of a nature versus nurture debate, but educational psychology professor Martin Mrazik thinks that prenatal conditions may be the determining factor.
“We can’t underestimate the power of nature. Some things may be very biological in nature, and no matter how hard we try to develop a genius, maybe it’s not really the way to go about it,” Mrazik said.
Mrazik and his colleague from Rider University in New Jersey recently linked prenatal testosterone exposure to children with high levels of precociousness — the presence of above-average mental capabilities at an early age. The pair used advanced techniques such as functional MRI scans to investigate how the brain works.
“Testosterone seems to influence the right hemisphere. That’s where our math, science, reasoning, and abstract thinking take place […] We found a lot of evidence to suggest that in very precocious kids, [they] have very highly developed brain networks in the right frontal lobes of their brain.”
Mrazik also found that precocious children were found to have a higher incidence of short-sightedness and allergies, conditions which may also be associated with more exposure to testosterone in the prenatal environment.
So there you have it: proof that, on average, men are more logical and rational, and deeper thinkers, than women. All thanks to the wonder drug that is called testosterone. All hail Big T!
When I was a kid I had pretty bad allergies. But my eyesight is crystal clear. If I wasn’t busy screwing I could have been a fighter pilot.
The research is still in its early stages, and Mrazik is certainly not advocating for pregnant women to artificially enhance their testosterone levels, especially considering the potential negatives. He explained that in many cases, savant-like genius is associated with learning disorders such as Asperger’s Syndrome or autism.
I could see eugenics embracers like Jodie Foster stabbing themselves with needles full of steroids in hopes of imparting their male fetuses with super high IQ. Only to find out they had given birth to Tokyojesusfist.
On a related note, a reader wrote to say he was concerned that his unmasculine digit ratio — a biological quirk associated with prenatal testosterone levels that affects the ratio of the index finger and ring finger lengths — meant he might turn out gay.
I told him not to worry about it. There appear to be two major testosterone events in a man’s life. The first is prenatal — how much testosterony goodness is released in the womb affects your 2D:4D digit ratio. (High T = lower ratio.) The second T event is puberty and young adulthood. It is during that time frame that a second blast of T is released which affects such things as secondary sex characteristics. There is even a study out there (perhaps an ambitious reader can look it up for the edification of the studio audience) which concludes that the second wave of T is more important for a man’s physical and psychological “manliness” than the prenatal T, which seems to exert its primary influence on mental traits such as math ability and level of empathy. The study quoted above supports my view of the functions of these two testosterone events. And as of now, there is no evidence that the two major T events are related. Exposure to low T in the womb does not necessarily mean the release of adolescent T will be low as well.
In any case, the reader should relax. As far as we know, male digit ratio has nothing to do with being gay. In fact, one study purported to show that gay men have more masculine digit ratios.