Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Purpose of Hormones

Lots of stories on the BBC News website about hormones and their effects. Is this because it is a popular subject for research, or a popular subject for science journalism?

Effects on sexual attraction

Effects on parenting

Effects on health

Effects on business

Other effects

Most of these stories are related to testosterone, oestrogen and/or progesterone. The stories come from a range of sources, and sometimes contradict one another. The explanations overlap and sometimes conflict. See my previous post on Face Values Applied to Love Game.

It would seem (not surprisingly) that hormones have some effect (albeit confusingly), at least on reproduction. So it might make sense to infer the purpose of these hormones from these effects. For expertise in these matters, the BBC generally turns to one Dr Nick Neave.
Dr Nick Neave, a psychologist at Northumbria University, told the BBC News website that a fall in testosterone was nature's way of ensuring men behaved in a "civilised" and non-aggressive way around newborn offspring. [BBC News 9 November 2005]

The purpose of a system is what it does (POSIWID).

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