Friday, January 1, 2010

Merry New Year!

And what a great start we're off to!  I just finished watching Penn State (my alma mater) beat LSU in the Capital One Bowl (aka Citrus Bowl), it was definitely a close one, but a win is a win!  It also reminded me of a study from a while back that showed how watching our favorite sports team can do more than just cause us to drink beer, eat bad food, and jump up and down on the couch.  A study by Bernhardt et al (1998) showed that when men watch their favorite teams win, their testosterone levels go up.  If their team loses, they go down.  The study tested men after watching basketball and soccer (football) matches, but I would imagine the effect extends to (American) football games as well (though that remains to be tested).  As for all the women sports fans out there, I think it would be interesting to see what's going on with your testosterone levels too (no reason to be sexist), as well as what the levels of other steroid hormones (particularly stress hormones) look like in both men and women.  Some studies have shown that watching sports increases the risks for and incidence of heart attacks, so it would be interesting to see what the hormone levels look like, which might provide some insight as to whether or not stress is more or less of a heart risk factor than the beer, nachos, wings, or chili cheese dogs we tend to consume while watching our favorite sports.  Also, I don't know what the increased testosterone may be doing in terms of affecting behavior or perhaps the way that we think (affecting things like confidence or aggression), but these would also be interesting things to look into particularly if you were interested in studying sports hooligans and riots.  Anyway, now I plan on watching the rest of the Rose Bowl and eating some more crappy food, so I hope you have a "Happy New Year!" whomever you're rooting for.

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