For the last two nights while I’ve been dreaming, my mind has been wrestling with an integration of testosterone and estrogen in the model that’s come together the last three weeks. Dreams, metaphors and thoughts combine to synthesize the variables and data. This morning I awoke aware that there’s been a piece that is seeking understanding.

Marian Annett has pioneered new understandings of handedness, generating a host of clues as to how humans evolved and order themselves in society. Annett hypothesizes that one might be random-handed or right-handed, with a continuum of tendencies revealing that it’s not as easy as being one or the other. With our tentative model of evolution and society formation, repeating an earlier posting…..

We are playing with the concept of four prototype pairings, with eight prototype human beings, four in each sex. We are estimating that because the mother, at six weeks before birth, sets her children’s testosterone levels based upon her own testosterone levels (mother with high testosterone T creates low t males and high T females while a mother with low t creates low t females and high T males) that estrogen will run a similar dynamic. The result will be natural mated pairings resulting in across-sex matchings of testosterone and estrogen that will be complementary opposites. We are hypothesizing that there will be exceptions, but they will not be the convention in that society.

F te/M TE Conventional Patrifocal
F tE/M Te Warrior Patrifocal
F Te/M tE Contemporary Matrifocal
F TE/M te Classic Matrifocal

F te/M TE means low-testosterone & estrogen females, high-testosterone & estrogen male. Domineering, caring, discriminating men choosing cooperative women.

F tE/M Te means low-testosterone, high-estrogen female, high-testosterone, low-estrogen male. Domineering men choosing cooperative, caring, discriminating women.

F Te/M tE means high-testosterone, low-estrogen female, low-testosterone, high-estrogen male. Commanding women choosing creative, cooperative, caring, discriminating men.

F TE/M te means high-testosterone & estrogen female, low-testosterone & estrogen male. Commanding, caring, discriminating women choosing creative, cooperative, aloof men.

We now have two complementing dynamics acting as the engine behind social change and evolution.

Mother’s testosterone levels > progeny maturation rate > social structure proclivity > evolutionary trajectory.

Mother’s estrogen levels > progeny ability to exercise aesthetic discrimination and caring behavior > social structure proclivity > evolutionary trajectory.

I hypothesize two feedback loops. Mother’s testosterone level > progeny maturation rate > social structure proclivity > mother’s testosterone level. Mother’s estrogen level > progeny ability to exercise aesthetic discrimination and caring behavior > social structure proclivity > Mother’s estrogen level. The environment can intervene at all three levels of both loops by either influencing maturation rates and timing (via testosterone) or by influencing the intensity of mate selection criteria (via estrogen), thus modifying the trajectory of social and human evolution.

What’s been disturbing my sleep is that there is perhaps more nested pairings. Marian Annett has discovered this seamless gradation from extreme left-handers to extreme right-handers, what she describes as a balanced polymorphism. The majority of people in a society is a mix of the two extremes, though there is a leaning or shift in the right-handed direction.

Using the Annett model to parse out the relationship between the four societal hormonal prototypes leaves me wondering as to the exact connection among the four models. I would expect that all four pairings, all eight types of individuals appear in any society. Are there two that are ascendant, reflecting directly the polarity suggested by Annett’s work? Are all four involved? If so, how?

From my theory’s point of view (the Theory of Waves), the random-handed individuals represent the older genotype and could be either the Contemporary Matrifocal or the Classic Matrifocal. I’ve surmised that we evolved as Classic Matrifocal, but perhaps the Contemporary Matrifocal is not only a recent development (hypothetically in Scandinavia) but has always formed a percentage of ancient matrifocal societies. The question is, if the matrifocal genotype composes the left end of Annett’s balanced polymorphism, how much do these two matrifocal prototypes contribute to Annett’s model, and in what percentage? If so, how does that percentage change in different societies?

The same issue is in play for the right side of the gradated spectrum of random-handed to right-handed individuals, the newer patrifocal genotype. We have two patrifocal hormonal pairings, Conventional Patrifocal and Warrior Patrifocal. At the same time that we are exploring the relationship between the left and right sides of the societal polarities, what is the relationship between the two kinds of patrifocal hormonal social structures?

We know that the relative rates and timing of maturation and hemispheric differentiation are influenced by mother’s uterine testosterone levels, an individual’s testosterone levels and the timing of testosterone surges. It’s far less clear how estrogen levels or timing impact hemispheric differentiation and handedness. It seems Annett’s model reveals relationships between testosterone, hemispheric differentiation, handedness and social structure. What might Annett’s model reveal about our four hormonal polarities?

Though we can assume that patrifocal, right-handed, left-lobe language users are the convention in every society revealing the right shift in Annett’s observations of handedness, are there any conclusions we might draw from the information we have gathered concerning which of the four hormonal prototype pairings are evident in our societies, how they might change from society to society and if only two, three, or all four can be revealed in a predictable relationship?

This is not unlike noting that a printer using cyan, magenta, yellow and black creates the impression of seamless visuals with an infinite number of colors. Only four colors exist inside the printer. The difference here is that a relatively small number of people will actually fit into one of the four hormonal pairing prototypes. Most of us represent within our neurology some compromise position between extremes. Nevertheless, our explanatory model, taking into consideration the balanced polymorphism which seems to be at the foundation of what we are discussing, offers fairly profound cross-disciplinary implications with predictive power.

Life is characterized by gradation. Newtonian physics and politics are characterized by clear lines and a segregation of principles. Understanding evolution and the impact of evolution on society entails being able to grasp subtleties, brain hemispheres and corpus callosums with gradated differences in relative size as well as hormonal thresholds across the spectrums and tiny differences in handedness.

“…it is difficult to test theories about handedness because all predictions have to be expressed in terms of probabilities. There are no simple rules such as “all right-handers are…” or “no left-handers are…” because there are no distinct types….the theory requires us to think in terms of distributions, whereas all other theories in the literature continue to think of types. The foundation of the analysis is a continuous, unimodal distribution of relative asymmetry.” (Marian Annett, Handedness and Brain Asymmetry, p. 71)

My dreams last night sought to sort out the subtleties in the relationship among four hypothetical hormonal pairings of human prototypes and the arch of features evident in society, spreading from matrifocal on the left to patrifocal on the right. To parse out these subtleties, some kind of appraisal apparatus would have to be set up, something like Marian Annett’s peg tests, which evaluate degrees of handedness. We’d be evaluating degree of hormonal allegiance to the four options belonging to each sex. It might be easier to appraise the pairings by observing or conducting surveys with couples. Which of the four couple prototypes are you closest to? How about your parents or the people you know?

Are there patterns that you observe?


This entry was posted on Sunday, January 18th, 2009 at 8:35 am and is filed under Estrogen, lefthanded, Neoteny, Ontogeny, Sexual Selection, Social Structure, Society. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.
1 Comment so far

  1. Curtis on February 11, 2016 4:16 pm

    I believe that your four prototypes mirror the four temperaments described by Galen: Sanguine, Phlegmatic, Choleric, and Melancholic. In this schema, estrogen causes extroversion(so those low in estrogen are introverted), and testosterone suppresses neuroticism(with those low in testosterone being high in neuroticism).

    you should visit the webstie, The man who runs it, Jon Niednagel, has developed a personality theory based on motor skills.

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