Testosterone made men cheat less during a study
The male hormone testosterone is often associated with aggression and power as typical behaviors of men. Researchers at the University of Bonn had a completely different experience during a study.
Everyone lies, sometimes even several times a day. The lie is very common in social life, in business and in politics. Despite the increased interest in the phenomenon, very little is known about the biological basis. Scientists have now investigated possible hormonal influences. It was shown that the steroid hormone testosterone obviously plays an important role in social behavior.
Hormone made men more honest in the game
According to a study by scientists from Bonn, the additional hormone testosterone makes male test subjects “more honest” on average. The result showed that an elevated testosterone level caused the participants to cheat at a dice game significantly less often than others who took a placebo. "Our results show that testosterone administration significantly reduces lies in men," the study authors write in their report.
A total of 91 men of different ages took part in the behavioral study. About half (46) of the test subjects were given a hormone preparation with testosterone. The other half received a placebo without active ingredient as a comparison group. In separate cabins, the participants were instructed to do a simple game of dice. The higher the number rolled, the more money was promised as a profit. "The experiment was designed so that the test subjects could lie on the computer when they entered the result," says the study report in the specialist magazine "Plos ONE". The participants were also told that they should not be afraid of being caught.
In the subsequent evaluation, the researchers were able to use a probability calculation to measure how often the men in the individual test groups had cheated on average. "It showed that the test subjects with the higher testosterone values lied much less often than the untreated test subjects," sums up Armin Falk, professor of economic research at the University of Bonn. The researchers suspect that the hormone increases the need for “pride” and “developing a positive self-image”. "Against this background, apparently a few euros was not enough as an incentive to risk self-esteem," the researcher suspects. "Our results contribute to the recent debate on the effect of testosterone on prosocial behavior." It is interesting in this context that another research project showed that selfish behavior in women is promoted by testosterone. (sb)
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