Report Finds Higher Levels Of Testosterone Make It Harder For Men To Realize When They Are Wrong

So it turns out that your stubborn as all heck man isn’t just acting that way to be a jerk, it’s science!

New research from Caltech, the Wharton School, Western University, and ZRT Laboratory shows that increased levels of testosterone in men increased their tendency to rely on their “intuitive judgments” and reduce “cognitive reflection.”  Basically, men cease to think if their immediate gut reaction makes sense and just go with it.

Caltech’s Colin Camerer said in the report, which will soon be published in Psychological Science, “What we found was the testosterone group was quicker to make snap judgments on brain teasers where your initial guess is usually wrong.  The testosterone is either inhibiting the process of mentally checking your work or increasing the intuitive feeling that ‘I’m definitely right.'”

One of the questions asked to the group of 243 males, some of which were given testosterone and others placebo, in order to gain their cognitive decision making is as follows:

A bat and a ball cost $1.10 in total.  The bat costs $1 more than the ball.  How much does the ball cost?

Gut reaction would immediately be to say the ball costs $.10.  However, the correct answer is the ball should cost $.5, and the bat $1.05, and it turns out those individuals who were taking testosterone supplements scored significantly lower than those that took the placebo.  Also, the study found that the testosterone group, “gave incorrect answers more quickly, and correct answers more slowly than the placebo group.”

Scientists believe this phenomenon can be linked to testosterone’s effect of increasing confidence in humans, and that testosterone usually enhances the natural drive for social status.  Camerer said, “We think it works through confidence enhancement.  If you’re more confident, you’ll feel like you’re right and will not have enough self-doubt to correct mistakes.”

Via Science Daily

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