“Testosterone — new discoveries about the male hormone | DW Documentary”
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Testosterone has long been seen as a metaphor for aggression, but is there really anything to the idea of the testosterone-driven male? Prominent scientists explain how subtle the hormone’s effects actually are.
Men with a lot of testosterone have long been accused of violent and competitive behavior. Now the image of the sex hormone is changing. Unlike in the animal world, the general statement “testosterone makes one aggressive” cannot be confirmed in humans, and recent studies suggest that it can actually even promote selfless behavior. One of the leading experts in this field is Jean-Claude Dreher from Lyon. He says his laboratory experiments show that testosterone does not make men aggressive but instead allows them to act in a strategic manner. Those who are more testosterone-charged tend to be friendlier towards others in order to bolster their own social status. British behavioral psychologist Simon Baron Cohen demonstrates how testosterone determines our gender characteristics when we are still in the womb. Meanwhile, his colleague Oliver Schultheiss from Erlangen has found out how testosterone can improve our learning abilities!”
“Draya has been studying the influence of testosterone on human behavior and he’s found little evidence that testosterone strokes aggression in men. The effect that testosterone has on human behavior is by no means clear, but there is some indirect evidence, for example high levels of testosterone have been found in some prison inmates who have committed
serious crimes and we did a study which indicated that patients who are given testosterone injections could become more aggressive, but testosterone can also actually improve social behaviors.”
“This phenomenon shows clearly that you can improve your social status if you cooperate with people or engage in other kinds of positive social behaviors utility, so while testosterone can influence aggression, it also plays a role in the ability to act with generosity.”