TUESDAY, Oct. 16 (HealthDay News) -- Testosterone, commonly
thought of as the male sex hormone, seems to promote honesty, a new
Testosterone also is naturally found in women but at lower
levels than in men, and is typically associated with macho
attributes such as aggression and risky behavior. However, recent
research indicates that the hormone also encourages social
In the new study, German researchers led by Dr. Matthias Wibral
of the University of Bonn department of economics applied a
testosterone gel to the skin of 46 men to boost their levels of the
hormone and an inactive placebo gel to the skin of 45 other men.
Neither the men, nor the researchers, knew which gel was applied to
which study participants.
All of the men then played games of dice where they could win
money. The higher their scores, the more money they received.
The researchers structured the games so that the men had
opportunities to lie about their scores. The men played the games
alone in separate booths and entered their scores on a
But the researchers knew if the men cheated and found that men
with the higher levels of testosterone lied less often than the
The results challenge the belief that testosterone effects are
limited to promoting antisocial behavior, the study authors said.
They believe, instead, that testosterone may increase pride and the
need to develop a positive self-image.
And the small financial gains the men could obtain through lying
in this study "were not a sufficient incentive to jeopardize one's
feeling of self-worth," study co-author Armin Falk, an economist,
suggested in a university news release.
The study was published online Oct. 10 in the journal
The U.S. National Library of Medicine has more about