London, Dec 9 (ANI): The common belief that testosterone causes aggression in humans has been debunked by researchers.
Researchers at the Universities of Zurich and Royal Holloway London have shown that the sexual hormone with the poor reputation can make people behave more fairly in an effort to defend their social status.
For the study, some 120 test subjects took part in a behavioural experiment where the distribution of a real amount of money was decided.
The rules allowed both fair and unfair offers. The negotiating partner could subsequently accept or decline the offer.
The fairer the offer, the less probable a refusal by the negotiating partner. If no agreement was reached, neither party earned anything.
Before the game the test subjects were administered either a dose of 0.5 mg testosterone or a corresponding placebo.
"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 neuroscientist Christoph Eisenegger of the University of Zurich.
The study's results, however, contradict this view sharply. Test subjects with an artificially enhanced testosterone level generally made better, fairer offers than those who received placebos, thus reducing the risk of a rejection of their offer to a minimum.
"The preconception that testosterone only causes aggressive or egoistic behaviour in humans is thus clearly refuted," Eisenegger said.
Instead, the findings suggest that the hormone increases the sensitivity for status.
The study has been published in the renowned journal Nature. (ANI)