By: Chris O'Shea
Sometimes science deals you a hand that you simply don't know what to do with. You sit there and read the words, but you just can't process them. You understand that those words are written by intelligent people, but it doesn't seem like that could be possibly true. Your only option is to sit back and shake your head and wonder why you never became a scientist. This is the case with a new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal. The report says that men with bigger testicles tend to be worse fathers. The bigger the balls, the smaller the dad. We're not making this up.
James Rilling, an anthropologist at Emory University in Atlanta, decided to study why some fathers are more involved in parenting than others because, well, it matters. There have been a few studies that show kids with dedicated dads do better in school and end up better adjusted to life than those with absent fathers. In fact, just last year, Ronald Rohner, a professor at the University of Connecticut theorized that dads might be more important than moms. In an interview with Live Science, Rohner explained, "Knowing that kids feel loved by their father is a better predictor of young adults' sense of well-being, of happiness, of life satisfaction than knowing about the extent to which they feel loved by their mothers." Uh, we suggest you don't share that study with your mom or your wife.
To find the connection between testes and parenting, Rilling and his team surveyed 70 married men between the ages of 21 and 55. Each of the men had between one and four kids. The team asked the men about parenting and how involved they considered themselves. The researchers then used imaging equipment to scan the fathers' brains while they looked at pictures of their children. They also scanned the dads testes, because the larger the balls, the more testosterone males have. The team found that the men with bigger testes were more hands-off about parenting than those with smaller testes.
Rilling thinks that this is happening because men "face a trade-off between investing energy in parenting and investing energy in mating effort," and that men with bigger testes spend so much energy for sperm, they have little energy for anything else.
Of course you should take this study with a giant ball of salt. First of all, 70 people is a small sample size. Then there's the fact that we know nothing about the men themselves. How they were raised, their socioeconomic status, etc. That all has a much bigger factor in parenting style than testicle size. But hey, at least kids with crappy dads now can blame their dads' balls. Though that might be viewed as creepy by others.
[Pic via Flickr - khalidinho]