How Your Big Balls Lead To Bad Parenting

According to new scientific research, the size of a man’s testicles can indicate how involved he is as a parent -- the bigger the pair, the greater the drop in emotional responsiveness and infant care. In other words, being told you're a good father is now a backhanded compliment and an affront to your manhood.

Bollocks picture from Shutterstock

US researchers from Emory University in Atlanta investigated the link between testes size and parenting investment among men in a bid to shed light on Life History Theory, which examines potential trade-offs between mating and parenting (testes volume is associated with sperm production and testosterone levels).

To test their theory, the research team measured the testes volume of 70 biological fathers with children aged between one and two. The subjects then had their brain activity monitered via MRI scans in a region implicated in parental motivation as they viewed photographs of their child.

The men’s partners also filled out a questionnaire that queried the fathers’ involvement as a parent in common tasks such as taking children to health care visits or attending to children at night.

The study found that men with smaller testes were more emotionally responsive to their child’s face and more involved in infant care:

In response to viewing pictures of one’s own child, activity in the ventral tegmental area — a key component of the mesolimbic dopamine reward and motivation system — predicted paternal care giving and was negatively related to testes volume.


Our results suggest that the biology of human males reflects a trade-off between mating effort and parenting effort, as indexed by testicular size and nurturing-related brain function, respectively.

The report concludes that a fathers’ testicular volume and testosterone levels were inversely related to parental investment and testes volume was inversely correlated with nurturing-related brain activity when viewing pictures of their own child.

The authors acknowledge the possible influence of outside factors, such as fathers who experienced stressful and unpredictable childhoods growing up. Nevertheless, you may want to reconsider that "World's Greatest Dad" T-shirt next Father's Day.

We want to hear from big-balled dads and their pea-sized counterparts (hey, the internet is anonymous!) Do you consider yourself to be a nurturing, dependable father or could you be putting in more effort as a parent? And how does this relate to the size of your junk? Feel free to "bare all" in the comments section below.

Testicular volume is inversely correlated with nurturing-related brain activity in human fathers [PNAS]


    Last I checked, having big BALL'S wasn't something to aspire too. My Mrs seems to prefer the Frank to the beans... if you know what I mean.

      That's true to a point, but little balls means less testosterone. To borrow one of Schwarzenegger's phrases, this makes you a "girly man" -- even if your frank is enormous.

        True too. But steroids will turn men into girly men eventually. I also find it ironic that the study is published in PNAS (what is a very very respectable journal aka "Papers Not Accepted in Science"). But in this case, as it relates to the content of the article, the acronym is fitting.

        Last edited 10/09/13 11:27 pm

    ---> <--- 'bout that big, but I have a reeealy big monitor? How am I supposed to know how they stack up, for serious?

    And I'm a shitty father despite my best efforts. Would give both my testicles to be better at it (or is it just to make sure I don't procreate again?)

    Well you learn something new everyday! Certainly make for a good read, thank you Author.

    I have big balls and I'm a good dad!

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