Scientists Claim Soccer Is Like Sex
By @jschonb on April 20, 2012
BlogHer Original Post
This study explains so much. Not about sex per se, but about online habits and what kind of posts users click on.
The research referred to in the headline was published in the peer-reviewed science journal PLoS One as "Testosterone and Cortisol Release among Spanish Soccer Fans Watching the 2010 World Cup Final." Not so sexy with that title but interesting data nevertheless.
In the study, Spanish and Dutch scientists tracked the hormone levels of Spanish fans during a match against the Netherlands. What they found was that levels of the sex hormone testosterone soared in male and female soccer fans regardless of their team's success. The European researchers claim soccer fans get as excited watching a big game as they do during a night of passionate love-making. So watching soccer is kinda like having sex.
Lead researcher Leander van der Meij, from Amsterdam's Vu University, said fans also experienced a greater secretion of the "stress" hormone cortisol, an effect that is "consistent with the social self-preservation theory."Despite the hormone surge while the match was on, Spanish fans did not see an additional surge once Spain won. The study described it this way:
Generally, the testosterone data from this study are in line with the challenge hypothesis, as testosterone levels of watchers increased to prepare their organism to defend or enhance their social status. The cortisol data from this study are in line with social self-preservation theory, as higher cortisol secretion among young and greater soccer fans suggests that especially they perceived that a negative outcome of the match would threaten their own social esteem.
What does this mean? The reason you get excited while watching sports is not because you anticipate winning. It's because you anticipate the possibility of losing and are physically and chemically preparing yourself. The higher the level of fandom, the more hormones released. Sexy, huh?
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