Evidence Suggests Testosterone Plays Powerful Role in Motivating Revolutionary Change

Posted by Dr. Michael White, Updated on October 20th, 2021
Reading Time: 2 minutes

Testosterone has powerful effects on not only the human body but society at large. Testosterone is a highly psycho-active Hormone, and it changes the way that individuals both look at and interact with the world. One of the biggest ways that Testosterone changes our actions is that it encourages people to take bigger chances and engage in riskier behaviors. Often we think of risk-taking as a negative. It can make certain people more prone to drugs and alcohol, gambling, or other potentially problematic behaviors.

But not all risk is bad. It also makes it easier for someone to go against the grain and stand against popular sentiment. Any challenge to authority involves a significant amount of risk, and Testosterone helps people overcome those risks and take aggressive stances that can not only change lives but change history!

People Are Not Generally Prone to Taking Social Risks

Human beings are naturally highly social creatures. It's much easier for us in general to hold accepted opinions than adopt new ones. In order for sociocultural changes to occur, someone has to turn the tide. It takes a small but notable group of people to make this happen. Maintaining one's spot in the pecking order is usually thought to be very important, even if it prevents you from standing up for what's right. Taking a chance can reap massive rewards for the individual and even eventually for humanity, but the downsides can be tremendous.

Study Investigates How Testosterone Affects Choice and Risk

A recent study conducted in Germany at the University of Hildesheim investigates the social aspects of Testosterone with regard to choice and opinion. Social Psychological and Personality Science was the publisher of this article.

For this study, 250 participants were selected, 90 men and 160 women. They were told their purpose was an investigation of how hormones impact reading ability. This, of course, was a cover for the scientists' actual experiment. During the study, participants read messages intended to persuade them on a particular topic. After reading the message, the individual was told that either 85% or 15% of the locals agreed with the sentiment of the persuasive opinion.

Before the study was conducted, researchers evaluated two primary factors—Basal Testosterone and Ability to Resist Interpersonal Influence. Testosterone has long been known to reduce risk-aversion, but this study specifically investigates how Testosterone may help people take socially risky positions. Scientists hypothesized that Basal Testosterone would be an effective predictive factor for an individual's ability to adopt the opinion with greater social risk.

Higher Basal Testosterone Leads to Increased Acceptance of Social Risk

In the end, the results were as-predicted—Higher Testosterone increased the likelihood of adopting the less popular opinion. The results of the study also show that individuals took the risk with the full awareness of the potential social risk. This is important to clarify because Testosterone can often lead individuals to become blind or less aware of risk. If the individuals staked their position blind to social costs, it would not necessarily lead to the adoption of the minority position.

In the future, additional studies will be conducted to explore these effects further. Perhaps in another study, researchers could increase or decrease a patient's Testosterone Levels to see how that impacts their baseline risk-perception. They could also introduce other factors that enhance the perceived stakes of the situation.

It's clear, however, that Testosterone plays a powerful motivational role that encourages individuals to take a chance on change.

The article, “Basal Testosterone Renders Individuals More Receptive to Minority Positions”, was authored by M. Germar and A. Mojzisch.

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