Today on the blog we are discussing the “Come at me Bro Effect.” Never heard of it? That’s because we just made it up. So, what is this proclaimed Come at me Bro Effect? Ok– let me explain it this way: Have you ever been at the bar having a good time, and some random dude comes up and pushes you? He is obviously drunk and wanting a fight and you’re sitting there like “…what? Why?” Or, you’ve been at a concert and a guy pushes you so he can get closer to the stage and you mutter something passive-aggressively and all of a sudden you hear “What did you just say?” and you turn to see some red-faced, broad guy suffering from stick-up-the ass syndrome. He is squaring up totally down to clown.
Why do these guys do what they do? The age-old answer has been testosterone. They have a bunch of testosterone. It’s seeping from their ears. In this Von Braune post, we are going to be questioning if this is as accurate as the pseudo urban myth suggests.
So: the testosterone argument. Some men just have more testosterone that leads them to want to fight. Is this close to the truth? Well, Frank McAndrew of Knox College in Illinois says “[Historically,] researchers expected an increase in testosterone levels to inevitably lead to more aggression, and this didn’t reliably occur.” Woah, woah, woah. Wait a second. That pretty quickly pokes a hole in our logic. Apparently recent research has all but broken the direct link between testosterone and aggression. The studies suggest testosterone is needed to become aggressive, but it isn’t the primary cause.
This leaves us wondering what else could it possibly be? Besides alcohol at times (whole other thing)– perhaps a nature vs nurture situation? A guy just generally being a d%$k? Well, a huge cause of aggression has solely to do with the thought process that is inherent male dominance. For this explanation, we have the the culture argument:
“Changes in testosterone levels in response to challenges can be further shaped by our expectations. In one experiment that put a biological spin on the red state–blue state divide, researchers at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor had a volunteer “accidentally” bump into and then insult men who were raised either in the North or the South. The researchers hypothesized that Southerners come from a “culture of honor” in which aggressive responses to insults are culturally appropriate, and the results of their experiment bolstered that notion: Not only were Southerners more likely than their northern counterparts to respond with aggression, but their levels of testosterone also rose as a result. The Northerners, in contrast, were much less likely to experience an increase in testosterone.”
So how is that not testosterone? Basically research is advocating that a threat of dominance is what brings about the heightened levels of testosterone, not an already present high level of testosterone. It’s all about survival; not just fighting because someone has a lot manly-man hormones to spare. Unfortunately, test after test, scientists and researchers go back and forth on the actual causes of aggression (specifically random and as an answer to a problem) because it seems to be a fairly abstract idea.
Testosterone in men (and women) is a tricky subject anyway- we covered what to do if you have low levels in this blog post.
To close, next time some dude decides to try and pick a fight you can remember this article and say to yourself (probably not out loud) that testosterone might not have THAT much to do with it. Kind of strange, isn’t it?