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  • midlifelove 11:43 pm on January 14, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: aggression, biology doesn't rule, placebo effect, , testosterone research, ultimate game   

    Testosterone: Bad Rep Undeserved 

    It’s been labelled as the “selfish hormone” responsible for “roid rage,” Wall Street greed and other antisocial behaviour. But new research suggests that testosterone’s bad reputation is largely undeserved.

    Far from always increasing aggression and greed, the male hormone can actually encourage decency and fair play, scientists have discovered.

    New Scientist magazine reports women who receive a boost of the potent sex hormone act more generously than women on a placebo.

    As You Think, You Do

    But the hormone’s reputation seemed to precede itself. Those who suspected they had received bona fide testosterone acted more selfishly than those who believed they got the bogus treatment, no matter what they actually received.

    It seems because people think testosterone will make them more assertive, they often act that way in a placebo effect. In reality, the researchers found, testosterone pushes men and women to seek higher status.

    The Anglo-Swiss researchers used the ‘ultimatum bargaining’ game to test how testosterone would affect behaviour in a group of 121 women.

    Fairness Best in Some Situations

    The subjects who were given testosterone supplements in fact made much fairer offers in the ultimatum game than those given a placebo, suggesting that the hormone does not promote aggression in these circumstances, but co-operation.

    The results support the idea that testosterone promotes status-seeking, and that this can encourage or discourage aggression depending on the circumstances.

    Biology “Doesn’t Always Rule”

    In the ultimatum game, an unfair offer risks damaging a person’s status and reputation if it is rejected, so co-operative strategies are favoured. But in situations of conflict, as in prisons, a more aggressive and risky strategy may pay off.

    Researchers suggest the findings support the idea that no hormone should be labelled “good” or “bad,” because while animal behaviour might be ruled by hormones, human behaviour is far more complex and biology does not always rule.

     
  • midlifelove 11:53 pm on January 26, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: 220 million years, aggression, father for first time, genetic diversity, , interest in sex, living dinosaurs, mojo, new zealand lizard, protected enclosures, tuatara   

    It’s never too late. 

    It took 20 years, but Henry, a New Zealand lizard best known for being a “grumpy old man” has proven it really is never too late to get back your mojo by becoming a father for the first time at 111.

    Henry – formerly known for his aggression and lack of interest in sex – was the loner of the tuatara enclosure until he had operation for a cancer on his bottom last year. A renewed reptile, he paired up with Mildred and they successfully hatched 11 babies in late January.

    Henry now lives “in great harmony” with a harem of three females, and there are hopes his contribution to genetic diversity will be repeated again soon. NZ tuatara are “living dinosaurs” with ancestry going back 220 million years now mainly confined to off shore islands and protected enclosures.

     
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