Testosterone and bad ideas.

Irish Times reveals the link between lousy decision-making and the hormone linked to lust and aggression:

Dr Nick Wright and colleagues at the Wellcome Trust Centre for Neuroimaging at [University College London] tested the impact of testosterone on the levels of co-operative decision-making accomplished by groups. They publish their findings this morning in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

Men already have high levels of the hormone and if extra is given it will quickly be broken down. For this reason only women were used as subjects, Dr Wright said.

Supplements were given to elevate their testosterone levels temporarily and the women conducted a series of tests to measure levels of co-operation.

Dr Wright used 17 pairs of female volunteers who were asked to watch images on separate screens, trying to identify a particular target. If they co-operated well, their results would be better than if they did not collaborate on the task.

The tests took several days with both subjects in a pair receiving a testosterone supplement one day and a placebo on another. In this way the researchers could directly compare levels of co-operation when influenced by the hormone.

“When we gave them testosterone the benefit delivered by co-operation was halved,” Dr Wright said.

So why do team sports seem to be so testosterone-linked?
[via splinister]