Testosterone and trust

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In the experiment, just reported in the American Economic Review, the researchers found women were less trustful than men, sending over about a dollar less, on average, to the second player. If the first player sent over $5 or less, the researchers counted that as a signal of “distrust” for the second player.

The big surprise came in the blood test: measures of a testosterone marker in the blood tests found men’s testosterone levels jumped by about a third when they were distrusted. Women on the other hand, didn’t show any jump at at all. Men normally had at least five times more testosterone than women in the experiment, but the difference in reactions was clear, the researchers say.

Now is this a trust issue, or is it a competition issue?

Interestingly enough, the paper opens up with a brief overview of oxytocin, and how when the body produces more oxytocin individuals are much more trusting than otherwise.

What produces oxytocin? Vitamin C. So break out the orange juice at your next high-stakes poker match…

Otherwise, interesting white paper. Worth a read if you have nothing better to do.

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