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Can Testosterone Trigger Impulsive Behaviour in Men?

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Testosterone is described as a male sex hormone vital to the growth and maintenance of muscles, bone, hair growth and sperm production. Low levels of this hormone in men may result into a range of ailments starting from issues related to sexual drive, hair production, sperm quality, muscle and bone health and even depression. Much to our surprise, experts at the California Institute of Technology have found an association between the male hormone and decision making ability in men."What we found was the testosterone group was quicker to make snap judgements on brain teasers where your initial guess is usually wrong. Testosterone either inhibits the process of mentally checking your work or increases the intuitive feeling that 'I'm definitely right," said Colin Camerer, Professor at Caltech, reported by PTI.

Experts believed the study can pave way to further examine the negative effects of the growing testosterone-replacement therapy industry, which is primarily aimed at reversing the decline in sex drive many middle-aged men experience.

The study was conducted on nearly 250 men who were divided in groups that received a dose of placebo or testosterone gel. The participants were directed to take a cognitive reflection test along with a task that tested them on engagement, analytical skills and level of motivation. It was found that men who received hormonal doses ended up performing poorly in tests and answered 20 per cent fewer questions correctly as compared to the group that was given placebo. The testosterone group also "gave incorrect answers more quickly, and correct answers more slowly than the placebo group," the researchers wrote in the study published in the journal Psychological Science.

The same effect was not seen in the results of the basic math tests administered to both groups. The results "demonstrate a clear and robust causal effect of (testosterone) on human cognition and decision-making," researchers said. They believe that the phenomenon they have observed can be linked to testosterone's effect of increasing confidence in humans.

"We think it works through confidence enhancement. If you are more confident, you will feel like you are right and will not have enough self-doubt to correct mistakes," Camerer said.

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