Testosterone boosts confidence in men: Study

| Updated: Apr 29, 2017 18:14 IST

Washington D.C. [USA], April 29 (ANI): A study has found that higher levels of testosterone in men may boost their confidence by increasing their tendency to rely more on intuitive judgments and reduce cognitive reflection. Cognitive reflection is a decision-making process by which a person stops considering their gut reaction to something makes sense. According to researchers at Caltech from the Wharton School, Western University and ZRT Laboratory, men given doses of testosterone performed more poorly on a test designed to measure cognitive reflection than a group given a placebo, thereby boosting confidence. The results showed that the group that received testosterone, scored significantly lower than the group that received the placebo, on average answering 20 percent fewer questions correctly. "What we found was the testosterone group was quicker to make snap judgments on brain teasers where your initial guess is usually wrong," said researchers. "The testosterone is either inhibiting the process of mentally checking your work or increasing the intuitive feeling that 'I'm definitely right.'" They added. "We think it works through confidence enhancement. If you're more confident, you'll feel like you're right and will not have enough self-doubt to correct mistakes," said Caltech's Colin Camerer. The team included 243 males, who were randomly selected to receive a dose of testosterone gel or placebo gel before taking a cognitive reflection test. A math task was given to control for participant engagement, motivation level, and basic math skills. The testosterone group also "gave incorrect answers more quickly, and correct answers more slowly than the placebo group," the authors write. The results demonstrate a clear and robust causal effect of [testosterone] on human cognition and decision-making. Testosterone is thought to generally enhance the male drive for social status, and recent studies have shown that confidence enhances status. The research would appear in the journal Psychological Science. (ANI)