Good Dads Small Nuts

It’s Testicle Tuesday, y’all!

So recently, you were all like “dudes, it takes giant balls of steel to be a dad,” and your friends were all like “bro, I saw how you disciplined your kid, it takes big balls to make decisions like that.” So yeah, you’re stoked. You’re like, “I got big, giant, weaponized gorilla balls and that makes me a fantastic father.

Also, you’re all like “I’ve got a lot of manbatter swimming all up in my balls, and that’s why it was easy to make a baby. Ka-kow!

But science, you guys, is all like “Dudes, BTW: testicular volume is inversely correlated with nurturing-related brain activity in human fathers.” And now we’re all like “pssshhh, lame. Science, you don’t know me.

This is (more or less) how a recent study went by researchers from Emory University in Atlanta Georgia. Jennifer S. Mascaroa, Patrick D. Hacketta, and James K. Rilling set out to figure out why some dads are more invested in their children than others. But oh no, they’re not just going to ask tough questions. They’re also getting out the measuring tape.

Seventy fathers in Atlanta were plucked off the streets and out of the ATL clubs and felt up for science. Nut-size was measured, then the fathers were strapped into an MRI to measure brain function and activity.

The dads were then shown pictures of their children – with and without the photographed child showing some sort of emotion. MRIs showed that the part of the brain that controls nurturing was more active in small-balled guys while they looked at photos.

While the men had their brains and balls strapped into machines, researchers gave their partners surveys. The questions had to do with the fathers’ involvement in parenting – such as if the dads took their kids to doctor’s appointments or got up in the middle of the night to sooth a crying baby. As it turned out, the small-ballers got higher approval ratings.

“We don’t know the direction of the causality,” researcher James K. Rilling told TIME. “It could be that as men become more involved in caregiving the testes shrink.”

But why does this happen? We know that when a man has children, his testosterone drops. And a common complaint among parents is that there’s far less sex in the relationship than before the baby arrived – because of a couple of factors including time, mood and lack of sleep. Are we saying that “if you don’t use it, you lose it?” Maybe.

This study’s results were published yesterday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, or – get this – PNAS. Dude, really? P-NAS? Pee-nass?! Do I have to spell it out for you?!