Männer und Gewalt als männliche Eigenschaft

In mehreren Diskussionen wurde mir gegenüber bereits angeführt, dass die Ausübung von Gewalt quasi etwas männliches ist, eine Art zur Essenz des Mannes gehörende Eigenschaft, die Frauen eben nicht haben.

Man sollte, so wurde angeführt, lieber nur Frauen als Politiker aufstellen, weil Männer eben gewaltbereiter seien. Selbst wenn sie es nur im Schnitt seien wäre das ja eine Risikoerhöhung.

Es wurde damit auch schon begründet, dass Frauen die besseren Menschen sind, weil sie eben keine Kriege anfangen und auch sonst die meisten Mörder, Vergewaltiger und auch sonst Gewalt ausübenden eben Männer wären.

Insofern ist ein Artikel dazu wohl überfällig:

1. Generelles

Das Argument, dass die meisten Kriege Männer angefangen haben oder Männer mehr Gewalt ausüben ist bereits deswegen kein sehr gutes, weil selbst wenn man das unterstellt die meisten Männer eben dennoch keine Kriege anfangen und auch keine Gewalt ausüben.

Es ist auch deswegen bereits ein schlechtes Argument, weil Männer eben auch eher Gewalt ausüben können, da sie stärker sind und weil Männer eher Herrscher waren, während die klassische Hausfrau genauso wie der männliche Bürger eben keine Gewalt ausüben konnte.

Natürlich kann man auch Gegenstatistiken aufmachen, etwa über häusliche Gewalt oder andere Taten, wobei ich schon denke, dass Männer in vielen Gewaltbereichen vorne liegen, gerade in solchen untereinander.

Genauso wie Männer Kriege angefangen haben könnte man natürlich auf friedliche Herrscher abstellen oder auf Menschen wie Ghandi.

Man könnte sich auch dieses generalisierende Argument zu eigen machen und anführen, dass derjenige dann auch akzeptieren muss, dass alle großen Zivilisationen von Männern errichtet worden sind, die wirtschaftlichen und technischen Fortschritte ganz überwiegend von Männern verursacht worden sind etc. Wenn Mann=Gewalt, dann müsste eben auch gelten Mann=Fortschritt und Technik und das Gegenargument „Frauen konnten ja nicht, weil sie nicht in der Position waren“ wäre dann auch auf das Gewaltthema

2. Gewalt und Testosteron

Bei einem solchen Thema lohnt es sich mal etwas nach Studien zu suchen:

Studie 1:

Fifty-eight normal adolescent Swedish boys, aged 16, provided two sets of blood samples for plasma testosterone assays as well as data on a number of personality inventories and rating scales assessing aggression, inpulsiveness, lack of frustration tolerance, extraversion, and anxiety. Physical variables such as pubertal stage, height, weight, chest circumference, and physical strength were measured. There was a significant association (r = 0.44) between plasma testosterone levels and self-reports of physical and verbal aggression, mainly reflecting responsiveness to provocation and threat. Lack of frustration tolerance was also related to testosterone levels. About 40% of the variance in perfectly reliable testosterone measurements could be predicted from equally reliable Physical + Verbal Aggression and Lack of Frustration Tolerance scales. Pubertal stage was correlated with testosterone (r = 0.44), but the above-mentioned relationships could not be accounted for by pubertal stage as a third common variable. Previous hypotheses relating testosterone to strong body build and antisocial behavior, respectively, received only weak or no support.

Quelle: Testosterone, Aggression, Physical, and Personality Dimensions in Normal Adolescent Males.

Studie 2:

Testosterone plays a role in aggressive behavior, but the mechanisms remain unclear. The present study tested the hypothesis that testosterone influences aggression through the OFC, a region implicated in self-regulation and impulse control. In a decision-making paradigm in which people chose between aggression and monetary reward (the ultimatum game), testosterone was associated with increased aggression following social provocation (rejecting unfair offers). The effect of testosterone on aggression was explained by reduced activity in the medial OFC. The findings suggest that testosterone increases the propensity toward aggression because of reduced activation of the neural circuitry of impulse control and self-regulation.

Quelle:  Neural Mechanisms of the Testosterone–Aggression Relation: The Role of Orbitofrontal Cortex

Auszug aus einem Text:

THE FACTS: Behavioural research on testosterone is, if anything, inconsistent. Highly inconsistent. And a bit surprising too. Some studies found that high pre-natal exposure to testosterone leads to more generous game offers in men and women (a.k.a charity). Others have concluded that, when testosterone is artificially enhanced, men become less generous, more vengeful and antisocial. Yet others still have suggested that hypogonadal males (a.k.a low testosterone-producing males) who had their testosterone increased saw no jump in aggressive behaviour, and in fact became more friendly, energetic and, well, happy.

Words/phrases that are thrown around a lot in testosterone studies: cortisol, orbitofrontal cortex, amygdala, oxytocin — the list goes on. The point? We don’t really know how (or even if) testosterone makes humans more aggressive. We can’t isolate it. And it seems that it may just be peripheral to other hormones in aggressive, status-seeking, high-libido and/or antisocial behaviour.

I recently ear-marked this study, which found that increased levels of testosterone induce aggressive behaviour ONLY when there is perceived unfairness in a bargaining situation. It’s the system (not the hormone), stupid.

But my all-time favourite is this Nature letter, where the reality and ‚folk wisdom‘ of testosterone’s effects were teased out in a neat experiment. In a game situation, researchers gave a single dose of testosterone to certain women, the rest were given a placebo. Some had been told that they were receiving testosterone (even if they were the placebo group) while others, who had been told nothing, were actually administered testosterone. The result: the women who had received testosterone without knowing became fairer, more generous and had increased efficiency in social interactions, while the other group (those who had been told that they were receiving testosterone) behaved much more unfairly. In sum: one group acted they way they thoughttestosterone should affect humans (and it wasn’t pretty). But the reality was much different. Case and point, ladies and gentlemen.

Testosterone may in fact be the key to aggressive mammal behaviour. It may also be the fountain of life. Who knows. But the strongest (and perhaps only) current link between testosterone and human aggression is implicit cultural assumption. And what’s implicit and not explicit is too often wrong.

Aus einem weiteren Text:

According to theory from evolutionary biology, aggression serves an important function in terms of both individual survival as well as procreation potential. In terms of this evolutionary biological theory, what it comes down to is this: competition arises when resources are limited and therefore animals/species must actively compete in order to increase their own fitness. It does not take a biologist to then infer that aggression is advantageous at both the individual and genetic levels. (1).

Hormones are inextricably linked to behavior as seen by the impact that its presence or absence has on an organism. In terms of aggression, there exists intriguing evidence that there is a definite connection between the hormonal effects of testosterone and the outward expression of aggressive behavior (1). For example, castration leads to a marked decrease in aggression as shown by castration experimentation on various species. Furthermore, when testosterone is replaced through hormone therapy in these castrated animals, the amount of aggression increases and is restored to its original pre-castration level (1). Taken together, this seems to present a strong argument for the role of testosterone in aggression. However, the story does not end here: if we are to suppose that testosterone does in fact lead to aggressive behavior we must then necessarily ask how and why it does. In doing so, we might just find that the original supposition falls through.

Testosterone exerts its hormonal and behavioral effects upon interaction with androgen receptors (i.e., when converted into 5-alpha-dihydrotestosterone) or with estrogen receptors (i.e., when converted into estradial by aromatase) (2). . According to some, there exists a „critical time period“ (i.e., during development) when testosterone serves to „sensitize“ particular neural circuits in the brain. Presumably, this sensitization allows for the effects of testosterone that manifest in adulthood. A recent theory builds upon this story, adding the idea that almost immediately after birth, testosterone leads to the establishment of an „androgen-responsive system“ in males. And what about females? It is presumed that a similar androgen system is set-up in females, „although a greater exposure to androgens is required to induce male-like fighting“ (2).

Although not the primary function of most hormones, neural activity can be modulated as a result of their presence. For example, it has been shown that some hormones can modify cell permeability and therefore have a crucial impact on ion concentration, membrane potential, synaptic transmission and thus neural communication and behavioral outcomes (2). More specifically, when a hormone such as testosterone acts on a target neuron, the amount of neurotransmitter that is release is significantly affected. For example, it has been suggested (i.e., with experimental data) that testosterone acts on serotonergic synapses and lowers the amount of 5-HT available for synaptic transmission. This is important when coupled with the fairly well accepted idea that the presence of 5-HT serves to inhibit aggression, as shown convincingly in studies done on male rhesus monkeys: Serotonin reuptake inhibitors such as Fluoxentine and several other antidepressants lead to a significant decrease in aggression in both monkeys and humans (2).

Although convincing relationships have been found between testosterone and aggression, hormones in general cannot cause a particular behavioral outcome; they can only facilitate or inhibit the likelihood that such an outcome will occur. For example, the mere presence or level of testosterone is not sufficient in invoking aggressive behavior, as seen by a significant population of males that are not aggressive. There must therefore be other factors involved: at the hormonal level, what about the effects of noradrenaline, acetylocholine or glutamate? It is important to remember here that the endocrine system consists of a complex array of communication pathways, none of which act independently (2).

Furthermore, we know that biological factors do not act in a vacuum and we must therefore concede significant impact and effect from environment and social factors as well. For example, some studies have found that it is not testosterone level that is the best predictor of aggression, but that obesity and lower levels of „good“ cholesterol tend to be the best predictors of aggressive behavior in human males (3). Additionally, it has been shown that social status greatly influences the presence/degree of aggressive behavior in both animals and humans. The facts are that higher levels of social status correspond to higher levels of testosterone, although the quandary remains: is this elevated status a result of elevated testosterone levels and the evolutionarily advantageous aggressive behavior it might influence, or is the testosterone level a result of the heightened social status (i.e., building upon the well-supported idea that „winning“ social competition leads to an increase in testosterone levels) (4)? It is the age-old nature versus nurture debate, or perhaps more appropriately, nature and nurture discussion.

To come full circle and reiterate this discussion’s opening declaration: we do not know for sure whether or not testosterone leads to aggression. Therefore, any assertion of a causal relationship between the two is instantly problematic. Instead, we must continue to learn and to discuss the various possibilities with an open mind, in order to come to a better understanding of the role that testosterone and other hormones play in aggressive behavior.

Insgesamt scheint die Lage also nicht ganz klar zu sein, auch wenn es gewisse Korrelationen zu geben scheint.

3. Evolutionäre Betrachtung

Was gerne übersehen wird ist, dass der Mensch und damit auch der Mann ein soziales Wesen ist, welches in Gruppen lebt. Auch die unterschiedlichen Gruppen bekriegen sich nicht per se, sondern eine der bestechensten Eigenschaften des Menschen ist eben, dass er zur Kooperation auch über seine Gruppe hinaus fähig ist und in vielen Fällen einen reziproken Altruismus zeigt, bei dem er durchaus in Vorleistung tritt.

Es dürfte klar sein, dass in diesem Bereich Aggression schnell schadet und insofern nicht einfach ein „Aggressionsprogramm“ ohne Differenzierung besteht. Aus meiner Sicht scheint mir Aggression immer nur ein Mittel zu sein. Es mag bei bestimmten Leuten, die dies gelernt haben, eines der ersten sein, welches man bei mangelnder Impulskontrolle anwendet, aber bei den meisten Leuten heute ist es vielleicht einfach nur verbale Auseinandersetzung, Statusgehabe, Wettbewerb auf anderer Ebene, etwa um einen Job oder einen Auftrag.

Sprich: Wir mögen eine Biologie haben, die uns erlaubt Gewalt einzusetzen aber die Kultur bestimmt zu einem großen Bereich, ob es von uns als zulässiges und geeignetes Mittel in dem jeweiligen Kampf eingesetzt wird.

Was auch dazu führt, dass Männer sich eher auf produktive Wettkämpfe einlassen, weil es für sie dort eher um Status, „Revierverteidigung“ und „ich bin besser als du“ oder einfach nur Ansehen unter Freunden oder bei Frauen geht. Was auch erklären würde, warum Männer eher in Führungspositionen arbeiten oder sie Geld und Aufstiegschancen in einem Bereich mehr interessieren als Frauen.

Man muss eben heute Aggressionen nicht mehr mit Gewalt ausleben. Fight oder Flight kann einem produktiven Zweck zugeführt werden, der abseits körperlicher Gewalt liegt.