The Grapevine

Guys May Struggle With Self-Control Due To Testosterone; How Sex Hormone Affects Decision Making

Not to make excuses for every dumb, impulsive decision made by men, but a new study says it might be in their hormones. A team of researchers that included scientists from Caltech and The Wharton School at The University of Pennsylvania, found that testosterone makes men less likely to think before acting.

ReadWill He Commit? Testosterone Levels Predict Relationship Status And 3 Other Unusual Things

The study included 243 mostly college-aged males who received either a dose of testosterone or placebo before taking a Cognitive Reflection Test, or CRT. Comprised of only three questions, the math-based test analyzed each person’s ability to overcome their initial, incorrect judgements for more thoughtful, correct responses. The team found that the men who received testosterone answered about 20 percent fewer questions correctly.

men-900190_1920 New study says higher levels of testosterone make men more impulsive. Pixabay

"What we found was the testosterone group was quicker to make snap judgments on brain teasers where your initial guess is usually wrong," says study co-author Colin Camerer in a story on the Caltech blog. "The testosterone is either inhibiting the process of mentally checking your work or increasing the intuitive feeling that 'I'm definitely right.'"

While short, the CRT did include those tricky, SAT-like word problems. For example, one asked, “ A bat and a ball cost $1.10 in total. The bat costs $1 more than the ball. How much does the ball cost?”

And no, the correct answer is not 10 cents. According to Caltech, the ball costs only five cents.

Participants took the test without time constraints and were paid $1 for each correct answer. An extra $2 was given if all three questions were answered correctly. A math test was also given to control for arithmetic skills, engagement levels, attention, and motivation.

The scientists believe this study provides further evidence that testosterone boosts confidence in an effort to enhance one’s social status.

Despite this, higher levels of testosterone come with a few benefits. Previous research has shown that low levels of the sex hormone were linked to an increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease in older men. Not only that, but testosterone is important for maintaining a higher quality of life as depression, fatigue, irritability and low sex drive are frequent symptoms associated with inadequate levels of the hormone.

Read: 6 Surprising Health Benefits Of Testosterone

An increasing number of men are turning to testosterone-replacement therapy to combat its decline, which typically falls about one percent a year beginning in a guy’s 40s. This study raises the question about the effects of this growing trend.

"If men want more testosterone to increase sex drive, are there other effects?” asks Camerer. “Do these men become too mentally bold and thinking they know things they don't?"

It's typically believed that men become less impuslive with age, but further research and time will tell whether that remains true as more guys turn to testosterone to combat the effects of aging. 

See Also:

Transgender Texas Wrestling Champion Spurs Debate Over Testosterone Therapy In Athletics

Do You Have The Right Amount Of Testosterone In Your Body? Normal Range Of Male Sex Hormone Revealed In Landmark Study

 

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