‘Believing you’re a winner’ gives men a testosterone boost and promiscuous disposition

10/08/2018

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New findings suggest that the male body tries to “optimise” self-perceived improvements in social status through hormonal shifts that promote “short-term mating”.

Our results show that both testosterone and its corresponding psychological effects can fluctuate quickly and opportunistically
- Danny Longman

A new study shows that men only have to believe they’ve bested another man in competition to get raised testosterone levels and an inflated sense of their own value as a sexual prospect.

Scientists found that this hormonal and psychological shift made men more inclined to approach new potential partners.

The research team measured hormone levels, as well as self-perceived attractiveness and confidence in approaching women, in 38 men in their twenties before and after competing in head-to-head battles on rowing machines.

Unbeknownst to participants, the competitions in the study were rigged to randomly declare the winner, regardless of who was the stronger rower.

While previous studies have shown that winning can affect male hormones, it was not known whether this was down to the efforts it takes to win or the belief that one is victorious.

The latest study, led by biological anthropologists from the University of Cambridge and published in the journal Human Nature, reveals that just being convinced you have won, or indeed lost, is enough to cause male hormonal fluctuations that can influence sexual behaviour.

Image:  US. Army World Class Athlete Program wrestler Spc. Jeremiah Davis (right) squares off against Sunkist Kids' Joe Betterman

Credit: U.S. Army

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Reproduced courtesy of the University of Cambridge

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