Lying is considered bad in any culture. But, people often lie, whether to gain some benefit or to present themselves in better light. Lying is common in modern cut-throat business world as well in common social interaction, regardless of the fact that if caught lying, people would lose a great deal of respect of their peers. Scientists found that there is a biological reason why some people do not lie, at least when it comes to men: their testosterone level is high.
Testosterone level in men determines many of their physical characteristics and it affects how they behave. It makes men look manly, stimulates building of muscles and increases their libido. Endocrinologists from Bonn University Hospital wanted to see if levels of testosterone also affects the social behavior of men. They worked with 91 healthy men and increased testosterone level in about half of them with a skin patch, without telling them who has received hormone and who has not. After their hormone level increase, men were given a test, which allowed them to lie in order to gain more money. The results show that men who did not receive additional testosterone were much more likely to lie in order to gain more money than those whose testosterone was increased.
One explanation is that the hormonal level increases men self-esteem, which they would not jeopardize by an act of lying or cheating.
Testosterone and behavior
It is common to believe that testosterone makes men more aggressive and manly and pushes them to take dangerous risks. A study conducted in 2008 proved that elevated testosterone level pushes men to make risky financial decision. But, the study by Bonn scientists shows another side of behavior induced by testosterone level – more ethical and conscienscious.
Hormone testosterone is present not only in men but in women as well, although in small doses. Scientists did not investigate if the levels of this hormone in women affect their propensity to lying.
While the link between the hormone level and men”s tendency to lie is interesting, we have to wonder how significant role testosterone plays when faced with such factors as irresistible temptation, huge material gain or certainty of not being discovered. After all, we are just human.
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