We’re not breaking any news when we say men are more likely to resort to violence than women. There’s a good reason for that; While a higher testosterone level helps regulate sex drive, it’s also linked to higher levels of aggression and violence.
But that’s not all. According to new research conducted by Caltech, the Wharton School, Western University and ZRT Laboratory this hormone is also linked to men’s proclivity to make dumb and rushed decisions. Unrelated: it’s also why men go bald.
Roughly 250 men were asked to apply a dose of testosterone or a placebo gel. These guys were then asked to solve a series of equations as part of a “cognitive reflection” test. Here’s a sample question: A bat and a ball cost $1.10 in total. The bat costs $1 more than the ball. How much does the ball cost?
Men who rubbed testosterone gel on their bodies were quick to answer 10 cents. Which was wrong. Those who lathered their skin with the placebo gel, however, took more time with their answer and were more often correct. Still scratching your noggin’ for the answer? The ball costs five cents; the bat, $1.05. Which is one hell of a bargain.
On average, researchers recorded that subjects hopped up on testosterone were 20 less likely to answer correctly. Ultimately, researchers found that the testosterone gel inflated a man’s confidence to where he’d rush his answers without doing much – if any – due diligence.
“What we found was the testosterone group was quicker to make snap judgments on brain teasers where your initial guess is usually wrong,” Caltech’s Colin Camerer, a professor of behavioral economics, said. “The testosterone is either inhibiting the process of mentally checking your work or increasing the intuitive feeling that ‘I’m definitely right.’”
As the New York Post points out, this result isn’t the best news for medications that use testosterone to increase a man’s sex drive. The last thing a guy needs is to make hurried decisions without consequence while having sex.
But, hey, it’s not all bad. The next time you’re wrong about something, don’t be so hard on yourself. Just blame the testosterone.