Several researches have been conducted and are still continuing to be conducted in order to explain human behavior. We want to find answers why people behave in a particular way. Some of the explanations are derived from the study of the different aspects of society and its effect on human behavior. Some have been explained by our genetic material, by the hormones and other chemicals that circulate in our body and influence our thinking and emotion. You Dirty Vole was about the role of vasopressin receptors in sexual behaviors.
Apes of Wrath deals about the role of social bonds to escape male aggression. One common thing about the two articles is the use of animal analogies in explaining that of human’s. You Dirty Vole uses voles, which are rodents while different species of apes are used in Apes of Wrath. Barbara Smuth said that “My observations over the years have convinced me that a deeper understanding of male aggression against females in other species can help us understand its counterpart in our own. ” It was also found out that similar to humans, female gets protection through friendships.
As the article explains it, “Female primates also use relationships with males to help protect themselves against sexual coercion. Among olive baboons, each adult female typically forms long-lasting “friendships” with a few of the many males in her troop. When a male baboon assaults a female, another male often comes to her rescue; in my troop, nine times out of ten the protector was a friend of the female’s. ” It is surprising to find out that humans are not so different to some animals in our behavior. We like to think that we are a much more superior kind of creation.
We sometimes deny that there is some similarity between us and apes in terms of behavior. But we find out in the two articles that we can be compared even with rodents like voles. The study of animals in the two articles both lead to the discovery of something new about our behavior. In You Dirty Vole the voles are used as test animals. Larry Young, a neuroscientist at Emory University, injected a gene into male prairie voles which makes the voles develop more vasopressin receptors. The Apes of Wrath studies apes through thorough observation.
The researchers who did the two studies both devoted a significant amount of time in their respective fields to come up with the information that helps in our understanding of human behavior. Both articles seek to explain something about human behavior in reference to a single variable. The article You Dirty Vole explains something about the sexual behavior of humans by looking at the vasopressin receptor. On the other hand, the article Apes of Wrath revolves around the social bonds. Vasopressin is a hormone that is believed to be released into the brain during sexual activity.
The number or amount of vasopressin receptor has the power to affect the mating behavior of voles. It was found out by Larry Young that the increase in the amount of vasopressin receptors in male voles made it pair with females even though they have not mated yet. This was a surprise because usually they have to mate for at least 24 hours to establish a bond. This has opened the door for decoding the biochemistry of the emotions associated with love and attachment. Since humans also produces vasopressin, a possibility of gaining control over human’s sexual behavior was opened up.
The other paper Apes of Wrath, deals about the role of social bond in protecting the females against aggression. It was observed by Barbara Smuts that women are protected from being hurt by a male if they form a bond with others. There are some species of animals wherein, females remain in their birth communities their whole lives, joining forces with related females to defend vital food resources against other females. In turn the females form a sort of alliance and they defend themselves against males who want to hurt them. One species of animal that exhibits this is the Vervet monkeys.
They are feisty African monkeys whose females gang up against males. There are high ranking females who run the troop. These gang of females slap persistent suitors away. This kind of alliances is observed in many other female-bonded species. Examples are the other Old World monkeys such as macaques, olive baboons, patas and rhesus monkeys, and gray langurs; New World monkeys such as the capuchin; and prosimians such as the ring-tailed lemur. On the other hand, orangutans, which do not live with others, but live only with offsprings often become victims of forced copulation.
Thus, the importance of social bonds are seen in these examples. Another similarity between the two articles is that they addressed a problem brought about by human behavior. In You Dirty Vole, the issue of polygamy was discussed while in the article Apes of Wrath, the issue about violence against women are brought up. Voles are rodents which have the tendency to be polygamous, as humans do. Polygamy has caused humans a lot of troubles. It had wrecked a lot of lives. It tears up a lot of families. Violence against women and other assaults like rape were found to be existent in other forms of organisms like apes.
According to the article, “a male uses such aggression to train a female to fear him so that she will be more likely to surrender to his subsequent sexual advances. ” This is not new to us. We have seen a lot of news about males using their strength to take advantage of women. Another similarity of apes to humans, as mentioned previously is the seeking of male friendships to help them in times of sexual assault by other males. However, another kind of abuse exists here because as stated in the article, “In return for his protection, the defender may enjoy her sexual favors the next time she comes into estrus.
Male baboons frequently threaten or attack their female friends-when, for example, one tries to form a friendship with a new male. Other males apparently recognize friendships and rarely intervene. The female, then, becomes less vulnerable to aggression from males in general, but more vulnerable to aggression from her male friends. ” It is true that there is no thing as a free lunch, everything has a payment. This behavior of apes can be seen in us. Some males who happen to be a friend and someone to depend on may still take advantage in return of the favor that he had done for a female.
Lastly, both researches offer a very promising application. The study done by Larry Young has the possibility of offering cure to polygamy. There was a possibility that someday there will be a monogamy pill that can be bought in the drugstores. This will solve human’s issue about polygamy. If someone wants to be faithful with his/her spouse but was enticed to cheat, he/she can just take the pill and then his/her attachment to his/her mate will become stronger. From the other study, about the roles of social bond, we can learn that we can do something to protect women.
The behaviors seen in apes can offer us a new solution which needs changes in social alliances. The women’s ability to cooperate and form alliances through political and other social institutions can help uphold the rights of women to be protected against violence. It is interesting that the answers to some of our problems are just around us. We just need to open our eyes and observe in our environment – just like the polygamy issue which can be solved through the observation of voles and the issue about violence against women which can be solved through observing apes.
Courtney from Study Moose
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