“Testosterone Promotes Reciprocity in the Absence of Competition”
“Boosting testosterone can promote generosity, but only when there is no threat of competition, according to new research published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science. The findings show that testosterone is implicated in behaviors that help to foster and maintain social relationships, indicating that its effects are more nuanced than previously thought.”
An immediate-moment manner of analysis revealed to me in the 1970’s that hormones don’t cause behavior, hormones support behavior. If it’s appropriate and efficacious to be social, testosterone is part of the hormonal mix enabling the implementation of the social proclivity. If it’s appropriate and efficacious to be aggressive, testosterone likewise is part of that specific hormonal mix that enables the implementation of an aggressive proclivity. An immediate-moment manner of analysis reveals a more nuanced interpretation of hormones and behavior than was being entertained by mainstream behaviorism until only very recently. Because an immediate-moment manner of analysis identified the dynamic of flow, Natural Dog Training has never advocated neutering as proscriptive whereas modern behaviorism and learning theorists are only belatedly coming around to that point of view in regards to neutering.
So is mainstream behaviorism entering a new, more nuanced view of behavior? One might suppose a fundamental shift is underway given how wrong behaviorism must recognize itself to be in this regard (modern behaviorism was even the intellectual force behind a legislative movement to mandate the neutering of male dogs in town ordinances) however, modern behaviorism remains a materialist reductionist philosophy that tries to account for emotion within its mechanical paradigm. It remains reductionist and has simply shifted to a different mechanical cause, now to be comprised of neurological cognitive structures and neurochemical transmitters. We even hear rumblings from the positive force-free training school of thought that their “scientifically” accredited methods should be legislated as the standard for the dog training industry. This from the same folks who only ten years ago were saying that early neutering and spaying was the scientifically accredited way to go as well.
Meanwhile an immediate-moment manner of analysis reveals that neurological structural modules and neurochemical transmitters don’t cause behavior, they support behavior. This is because an immediate-moment manner of analysis is not rooted in a material mechanics that is gene-centric, but rather the aforementioned dynamic of flow. The problem with a gene-centric model is that it conflates the WHY of behavior (replication of genes according to a survival/reproductive agenda) with the HOW of behavior. Thus it ends up confirming its original bias that animals are psychologically motivated by an underlying survival/reproductive agenda.
Additionally, conflating WHY with HOW renders a thought-centric model of behavior which is why if one probes any system of behavioral interpretation deeply enough, one will find (1) it requires human rationales to hold it together; (2) the motives of animals are indistinguishable from human behavior. (3) They will also find a materialist, nihilistic interpretation that animals act and learn according to the material consequences of their actions, (4) the meaning of emotional experience will be rooted in a high psychological rationale, and (5) there will be massive internal contradictions. For example, the argument that animals are moral, cognitive, emotional animals because they share the same basic neurological hardware as human beings, but then this is held in juxtaposition with the Neo-Darwinian idea that consciousness evolved from the neurological hardware in a wholesale leap from random mutations so as to be unrelated to the substrate. (Thomas Nagel writes about the folly of this logic and therefore why Neo-Darwinism must certainly be wrong.) This would mean that if the neurological hardware of animals isn’t 100% identical to human beings, we can’t therefore conclude that animals think in any way comparable to human beings since cognition leaps wholesale from the substrate and is not related to it. One minor mutation that increases survival/reproductive advantage can spin off a whole new suite of cognitive capacities unrelated to the neurological hardware. (This is where romanticism sneaks into Neo-Darwinianism as it tries to resist the reductionism that leaves it with just neurological nuts and bolts.). Ironically, modern behaviorism sees itself as rejecting the Descartes’ view of animals as automatons, when in reality, once one sees past the romantic smokescreen, modern behaviorism is the new mechanist.
Whereas an immediate-moment manner of analysis focuses on the HOW (an individual’s motive is to improve its feeling of flow) and this places recent scientific findings in a proper framework, i.e. emotion is a monolithic universal “force” of attraction that moves according to principles of nature and simultaneously networks individuals into a linked intelligence. The behavior of animals is intelligent in its subsequent capacity to thereby improve the flows of nature, in this way systems evolve in a mutual interconnected manner. The prey and predator are not in competition, they are in communication and they co-evolve through the emotional dialogue they mutually engage in. This is why we find the communication between any two individuals, no matter the species or the context, is always revolving around the prey/predator duality. One individual projects emotion, the other party in the interaction absorbs it, and then they flip these polarities if the interaction is to evolve above and beyond the prey-predator interaction, i.e. onto male/female or social peer-to-peer. An immediate-moment manner of analysis is the only system of interpretation consistent with the Constructal Law.