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Testosterone study clarifies influence on men's mating behavior

By Kathleen Blanchard     Mar 13, 2011 in Health
Scientists recently studied men vying for female attention to find out if it’s more than a theory that testosterone plays a role in dominance, competitiveness and mating behavior.
Wayne State University researchers found out testosterone levels do influence a man’s behavior after all, in a study that positively identified the hormone with assertiveness and dominance during conversation with women.
The study engaged men in a 7-minute videotaped “competition” involving attractive female undergraduate students. The researchers found testosterone not only influences competition for female attention, but it also seems to influence a woman’s receptiveness to men.
According to Richard Slatcher, Ph.D., assistant professor of psychology in WSU's College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and a resident of Birmingham, Michigan, men who report the need to dominate really are under the influence of testosterone.
Slatcher said, "We found that testosterone levels influenced men's dominance behaviors during the competitions, how much they derogated (or 'bashed') their competitors afterward, and how much the woman said she 'clicked' with them.
Books, film and television often portray men who are bold and self-assured with women as being high in testosterone. Our results suggest that there is a kernel of truth to this stereotype, that naturally circulating testosterone indeed is associated with men's behaviors when they try to woo women."
The researchers note animal research suggests testosterone is responsible for dominance related to mating, but studies have shown the same is true for human males.
Slatcher says the difference between animals and humans is that conscious motives shape behavior. “Our findings indicate that testosterone is associated with dominance behaviors and success when men compete for the attention of an attractive woman, particularly when men also have a strong conscious desire for social dominance."
The study suggests testosterone does influence dominant behavior in men when it comes to attracting women – something that has been proposed but never really shown. The findings are published in the journal Social and Psychological & Personality Science.
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