Study: Testosterone Leads to Fairness in Women

Started by bluegrass, Dec 10, 2009, 04:54 AM

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It really kind of gets funnier all the time.

Testosterone leads to fairness, not aggression: researchers
Last Updated: Tuesday, December 8, 2009 | 2:42 PM ET Comments81Recommend62
CBC News

Testosterone doesn't cause people to become aggressive or risky as many people believe but actually encourages fairness, European researchers say.

Researchers at the University of Zurich and Royal Holloway, University of London conducted a study of 120 women and found that testosterone promoted fairness in a bargaining game.

The women took part in a game to determine the distribution of real money, where both fair and unfair offers were allowed. The partner in this negotiation could either accept the offer or decline it, but if no agreement was reached, neither person would receive any money.

Before the game, the women were given either a dose of testosterone or a placebo. (Women were chosen for the experiment because the physiological effects of artificial testosterone are better understood in women than in men.)

"If one were to believe the common opinion, we would expect subjects who received testosterone to adopt aggressive, egocentric and risky strategies regardless of the possibly negative consequences on the negotiation process," said Christoph Eisenegger of the University of Zurich in a statement.

Instead, the study, published this week in Nature, found that women who received the testosterone behaved more fairly and had fewer conflicts in their negotiations.

However, the women who thought they had received the hormone, whether they did or not, behaved more aggressively and unfairly than those who believed they had received the placebo.

"It appears that it is not testosterone itself that induces aggressiveness but rather the myth surrounding the hormone," said economist Michael Naef of Royal Holloway.

Eisenegger said the experiment suggests that testosterone increases a person's sensitivity to status. In animals with simple social systems, aggressiveness can lead to higher social status, so testosterone leads to aggression.

"In the socially complex human environment, pro-social behavior secures status and not aggression," said Naef.
"To such females, womanhood is more sacrosanct by a thousand times than the Virgin Mary to popes--and motherhood, that degree raised to astronomic power. They have eaten the legend about themselves and believe it; they live it; they require fealty of us all." -- Philip Wylie, Generation of Vipers

dr e

Absolutely fascinating.  The women who knew they were taking the T became more aggressive but the ones who did not know became more fair.  That says a great deal.

I can see where this might go.  Next up needs to be men and women in the same sort of game and see what impact higher T levels do to men when playing other men and with men when playing women.  Same for women playing women and also playing men. 

Who knows, maybe they will find out who is really the "fairest of them all" sex.
Contact dr e  Lifeboats for the ladies and children, icy waters for the men.  Women have rights and men have responsibilties.

The Biscuit Queen

All of them assumed they were taking T. If they were, the effects of the drug made them fair. If they were not, the effects of the myth of T made them aggressive.

Interesting. I wonder how much male aggression is really social as opposed to biological. Kids who see examples of men who are violent have a higher chance to grow up to be violent (inner city minorities idolizing violent rappers come to mind) than kids who grow up in non-violence promoting homes (conservative practicing Christians for example).

I am definately generalizing here!!! Obviously not everyone fits neatly into these two catagories.

But the point has to be pondered...
he Biscuit Queen

There are always two extremes....the truth lies in the middle.

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