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Why Do Men Watch Violent Sports?

Even though there are many women watching football, a good number of women rather not watch violent sports. (44.3 million women watched the 2009 Super Bowl, for example). But guys are drawn to football and martial arts, boxing wrestling etc in ways that women aren’t.

Men tend to be more aggressive according to Lucy L. Brown, Ph.D., a professor in the departments of neurology and neuroscience at Einstein College of Medicine in New York City. The difference likely involves hormones (like testosterone) and sensitivities to those hormones in parts of the brain such as the hypothalamus, which in animals is associated with aggression.

When a male is watching his winning team win there is an increase of testosterone levels according to a study in Physiology & Behavior from 1998.When a male is viewing combative sports, it will help the man to identify with traditional ideals of masculinity like domination, risk taking, and competition, explains Douglas Hartmann, Ph.D., associate professor of sociology at the University of Minnesota.