Thursday, September 12, 2013

Show me...the MRI

As a psychologist and a scientist, I love reading research related to parenting and kids (both psychological research and biological research). I will regularly do a Google Scholar search for parenting-related research articles just to see "what's going on." So...what's going on this week?



Researchers at Emory University studied 70 fathers and found that men with a smaller testicular volume were more likely to demonstrate empathy towards their children and to provide more of the care for their children than men who had a larger testicular volume. They also found that men with lower levels of testosterone are likely to do more of the child care in the home.

As a researcher my first thought is, "A sample size of 70 participants is..." well not so hot. Typically if you want to make big claims, you need a big(ger) sample size. But the empathy and testicular volume measurements were taken via MRI, and that's a + (whereas the sample size would be a -).

So what does this mean? Do dating women who want kids need to take their beau to the doctor for a brain and testicular MRI prior to deciding to have kids with them? "Sorry babe, we have to get your 'T' checked before I'll agree to marry you. I don't want to end up changing all the diapers." Should women be avoiding "macho" men (who may have higher testosterone) if they eventually want a family? Or is it possible that as men age their testosterone decreases as does their testicular volume, and thus older men would be more empathic and change more diapers?

This. This is why I love reading research studies.

What have you read that was of interest to you recently?