Study Explores the Effects of Testosterone on Generosity

Posted by Dr. Michael White, Updated on May 7th, 2021

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Testosterone is well-understood as a hormone that increases strength and supports virility. Many people aren't so aware of the numerous ancillary effects of Testosterone, however.

Testosterone has a substantial impact on psychological function. For example, it's well-documented that men with higher Testosterone Levels tend to be more competitive than others.

There's also evidence that men with high Testosterone are more prone to aggression. By exploring the various effects of Testosterone upon the human mind, we can achieve new insights into our perceptions of masculinity and sexual difference.

Chinese Study Studies Men's Brains When Asked to be Generous

A new study conducted in China sought to examine the effect of Testosterone upon Generosity. This research was included in a recent edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Researchers worked with a group of seventy men from age 18-25. All participants volunteered for the study.

For the study, volunteers were divided into two groups. Both groups had gel applied to the shoulders and upper arms. While one group of patients received a placebo gel, the other received a 150 mg dose of Testosterone.

Participants then waited long enough for the Testosterone to activate in the bloodstream. Afterward, both groups were primed regarding the concept of Social Distance.

While we're used to hearing about Social Distance in the context of Covid-19, in this case, Social Distance refers to the idea of emotional closeness to others.

After being taught about Social Distance, the participants were asked to assess how emotionally close they were to certain individuals that were a part of their lives. Any participant that said they felt negative about the people around them were not included in the data set.

After establishing this positive view, the participants rated individuals based on perceived social distance. Then researchers provided the volunteers with money, which varied among participants.

FMRI Analysis Shows Effects of Testosterone

Finally, each subject was placed in an fMRI machine. Since the turn of the century, advances in fMRI technology and protocol allow researchers to investigate how the process of decision-making makes its way through the brain. It lets us see what subconscious and conscious parts of the brain are activated, which leads us to a decision or opinion.

While in the fMRI machine, each volunteer was given the option to split the money they recently received with a randomly selected member of their social sphere.

It was equally likely that the subject would split the money with their randomly selected peer among all volunteers. The results were more intriguing when comparing the two groups, however.

Men that were dosed with Testosterone were less likely to share with people that weren't particularly socially close, whereas the placebo group was more likely to split with a more loosely knit group.

The neurological source of this difference appeared to root from the temporoparietal junction. This part of the brain is strongly connected to feelings of empathy.

Could Low-T Treatment Help You Achieve Improved Psychological Balance?

While healthy Testosterone Levels help men live better lives, it's important to understand the various ways that Testosterone impacts health and psychology. Depression and lack of confidence are signs of Testosterone Deficiency.

For men with Low-T, Bio-Identical Testosterone Therapy can not only improve your body composition and restore your libido, but it can also significantly boost your psychological well-being and help you get to feeling like yourself again.

Reference: Jianxin Ou et al. Testosterone reduces generosity through cortical and subcortical mechanisms, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (2021). DOI: 10.1073/pnas.2021745118

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