People and groups with high testosterone levels tend to show higher success rates when working on a collective project, according to a new study.
Researchers tested the saliva of several individuals who were all participants in a computerized lab management task to determine various testosterone levels. The researchers at the US Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) also assessed the levels of cortisol, a known stress hormone. The full study was acquired by Ars Technica.
The “findings support the hypothesis that groups with a biological propensity toward status pursuit (high testosterone) coupled with reduced stress-axis activity (low cortisol) engage in profit-maximizing decision-making,” according to PNAS in its abstract.
High levels of testosterone and lower levels of cortisol are also likely to produce social harmony within a group, which often translates to effective cooperation around a like-minded goal.
Researchers randomly assigned 370 individuals to form into 74 groups each made up of three to six people.
The groups participated in a decision-making competition that forced groups to manage a faux computer laboratory for a week while optimizing profitability. The groups had to monitor the lab for all 24 hours of the day, a task that is virtually impossible to complete individually, which required members to collaborate in order to maximize performance.
“Groups with a collective hormonal profile characterized by high testosterone and low cortisol exhibited the highest performance,” according to the study’s abstract.
PNAS believes the study is significant because “past research has focused primarily on demographic and psychological characteristics of group members without taking into consideration the biological make-up of groups.”
Now there is evidence that hormonal levels play a crucial role in determining the potential success of an organization.
Another unrelated study showed that men suffering from cardiovascular problems who were treated with extra testosterone had a 12 percent lower mortality rate than non-testosterone treated men.
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