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Testosterone Makes for an Honest Man

Update Date: Oct 11, 2012 04:30 PM EDT

Testosterone has always been regarded as the principle hormone of "maleness,"  the cause of aggression, competitiveness and possessiveness in "macho" personality types. However, experts are saying that it may also be responsible for why your meat-head of a (boy)freind always let's you know (perhaps less tactfully then you would like)  when your getting fat or when your breath is far from fresh.

A study published in the international online journal PLoS ONE explains that "testosterone has always been said to promote aggressive and risky behavior and posturing," reports Prof. Dr. Bernd Weber, a neuro-scientist from the Center for Economics and Neuroscience (CENS) at the University of Bonn. However, new evidence suggests that it also may control certain social behaviors.

For the study, scientists recruited a total of 91 healthy men for a behavioral experiment. Out of this group of subjects, 46 were treated with testosterone by applying it to the skin in gel form. The other 45 test subjects only received a placebo gel. "Neither the subjects themselves nor the scientists performing the study knew who had received testosterone and who hadn't," reports Dr. Weber. This was done to prevent behaviors from potentially being affected.

The subjects then played a game of dice in separate booths; the higher they rolled the more money the subject received as a reward. Each booth was fitted with a hidden camera, but was given the illusion of privacy. The men were then asked to enter their scores into a computer. 

The point, researchers say, is that the test was designed to tempt subjects to cheat. 

Researchers found that the men treated with actual testosterone lied about their scores and cheated significantly less than the men given the placebo pill.  

"This result clearly contradicts the one-dimensional approach that testosterone results in anti-social behavior," adding that it is likely that the hormone increases pride and the need to develop a positive self-image. "Against this background, a few euros are obviously not a sufficient incentive to jeopardize one's feeling of self-worth."  

While lying is a widely used mechanism in both personal and professional relationships, and can even be seen, though arguably, as more important and valuable than truthfulness in some instances.

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