Testosterone can skew one's judgment, creating the impression that decisions are best taken alone even in situations that call for collaboration, according to a study released Wednesday.
In a smart set of experiments, scientists led by Nicholas Wright at the University of London showed that women given a dose of testosterone become less inclined to act in concert even when it was apparently in their interest to do so.
Finding the right balance between working together and going solo, and knowing when to do one or the other, is an essential life skill.
In some circumstances, joining forces with others is the best way to achieve the desired result: that's why lions and hyenas hunt in packs, and why humans cooperate on the playing field, in the laboratory, or in battle.
Sometimes, however, decisive individual action is needed to break free of group-think or to come out ahead of the game.
To a significant extent, our ability to navigate between these two extremes is acquired through learning and experience, but some of these impulses are hardwired too.
Earlier research, for example, on the biological underpinnings of group decision making revealed that a naturally-occurring hormone, oxytocin, promotes the urge to work side-by-side.
At the same time, it was well established that testosterone boosted risk-taking, anti-social behavior and the kind of aggressiveness that fuels contact sports and trading floors on Wall Street.
But whether the alpha male hormone par excellence-also present at much lower levels in females-also makes individuals shun cooperation and become more egocentric was not known.
To find out, Wright and his colleagues carried out a series of tests over two days, spaced a week apart, with 17 pairs of women volunteers who did not know each other.
On one of the two days, both volunteers in each pair were given a testosterone supplement, while on the other day they ingested a look-alike placebo.
The researchers chose females because in men an additional dose has the effect of suppressing production of the hormone by the body.
During the experiment, both women in each pairing sat in the same room but in front of separate computer screens.
The women were shown the same two images and asked to pick the one in which a hard-to-discern high-contrast pattern appeared. If their individual choices agreed, the exercise ended there.
But if they diverged, the women were told to consult with each other and reach a joint decision.
Pairs of women who had taken the dummy pill were significantly more successful in coming up with the right answer than those pairs who had been given the hormone, the researchers found.
"The higher levels of testosterone were associated with individuals behaving egocentrically and deciding in favor of their selection over their partner's," even when that choice was wrong, Wright said in a statement.
"Too much testosterone can help blind us to other people's views," he concluded. "This can be very significant when we are talking about a dominant individual trying to assert his or her opinion in, say, a jury."
The broader conclusion, he added, is that hormonal levels can disrupt our attempts to work together.
Word Count: 533
Contact Us Now
- Too much testosterone makes for bad decisions, tests show - Testosterone Prescription - February 27th, 2019
- The Secret to Guys’ Sex Appeal: Low Stress, High Testosterone, Strong Immunity - Testosterone Prescription - February 27th, 2019
- Your Life on Testosterone: Overly Sure, Unwilling to Listen to Anyone - February 27th, 2019
- Testosterone linked to heart disease - Testosterone Prescription - February 27th, 2019
- The top ten testosterone booster supplements: A review - February 19th, 2019
- Testosterone drives ego, reduces cooperation - Testosterone Prescription - December 21st, 2018
- Testosterone reduces group think, cooperation, and less sheep-like mentality - December 13th, 2018
- Men with higher testosterone tend to lie less, study suggests - December 13th, 2018
- Low testosterone levels cause health woes - Testosterone Prescription - December 13th, 2018
- Increase in testosterone drug use - Testosterone Prescription - December 13th, 2018
- Five Myths About Low Testosterone And Testosterone Therapy - Testosterone Prescription - December 13th, 2018
- Environment trumps genes in testosterone levels, study finds - Testosterone Prescription - December 12th, 2018
- Dr Manny: Want to boost your testosterone? Try getting married - Testosterone Prescription - December 12th, 2018
- Co-sleeping with baby drops men’s testosterone levels - December 12th, 2018
- Hypogonadism Testosterone Archives - Testosterone Prescription - December 12th, 2018
- Testosterone, Viagra not a winning combination for erectile dysfunction - Testosterone Prescription - December 10th, 2018
- Testosterone therapy — good idea or not? - Testosterone Prescription - December 6th, 2018
- Testosterone shown to help sexually frustrated women- Testosterone Prescription - December 6th, 2018
- Testosterone replacement therapy improves symptoms of metabolic syndrome - Testosterone Prescription - December 5th, 2018
- Acidosis: The Hidden Health Destroyer - November 25th, 2018