Testosterone makes men less likely to question their impulses. (2017)
… testosterone either inhibits the process of mentally checking your work or increases the intuitive feeling that ‘I’m definitely right.’
Emily Velasco (staff writer)
Previewing work by researchers including Prof. Colin Camerer, CalTech.
Caltech, 27 April 2017
A new study has demonstrated a “clear and robust causal effect of [testosterone] on human cognition and decision-making.
Researchers – from Caltech, the Wharton School, Western University and ZRT Laboratory –tested the hypothesis that higher levels of testosterone increase the tendency in men to rely on their intuitive judgments and reduce cognitive reflection.
Over 240 males were randomly selected to receive a testosterone dose or placebo before taking a cognitive reflection test which included questions such as:
A bat and a ball cost $1.10 in total. The bat costs $1 more than the ball. How much does the ball cost?
“For many people, the first answer that comes to mind is that the ball costs 10 cents, but that’s incorrect because then the bat costs only 90 cents more than the ball. The correct answer is that the ball costs 5 cents and the bat costs $1.05.
“An individual prone to relying on their gut instincts would be more likely to accept their first answer of 10 cents. However, another person might realize their initial error through cognitive reflection and come up with the correct answer.”
The researchers found that the men given the testosterone performed more poorly on the test.
“… 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.'”
The research will appear in an upcoming issue of the journal Psychological Science
Access the full article here: Testosterone makes men less likely to question their impulses.