Evolutionary Anthropology Senior Research Staff Database
Evolutionary Anthropology
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Duke University

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Publications [#352636] of Nicholas Grebe

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Journal Articles

  1. Grebe, NM; Sarafin, RE; Strenth, CR; Zilioli, S. "Pair-bonding, fatherhood, and the role of testosterone: A meta-analytic review.." Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews 98 (March, 2019): 221-233. [doi]
    (last updated on 2020/12/03)

    Males of many species must allocate limited energy budgets between mating and parenting effort. The Challenge Hypothesis provides a framework for understanding these life-history trade-offs via the disparate roles of testosterone (T) in aggression, sexual behavior, and parenting. It predicts that males pursuing mating opportunities have higher T than males pursuing paternal strategies, and in humans, many studies indeed report that men who are fathers and/or pair-bonded have lower T than childless and/or unpaired men. However, the magnitude of these effects, and the influence of methodological variation on effect sizes, have not been quantitatively assessed. We meta-analyzed 114 effects from 66 published and unpublished studies covering four predictions inspired by the Challenge Hypothesis. We confirm that pair-bonded men have lower T than single men, and fathers have lower T than childless men. Furthermore, men more oriented toward pair-bonding or offspring investment had lower T. We discuss the practical meaningfulness of the effect sizes we estimate in relation to known factors (e.g., aging, geographic population) that influence men's T concentrations.

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