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Testosterone and the Ultimatum Game

The common wisdom on testosterone is that it contributes to risky and aggressive behavior, but new research reveals a different pattern. In a study, 121 women were dosed with testosterone or a placebo and then played the ultimatum bargaining game (see Chapter 3 of SuperFreakonomics for more than you ever wanted to know about Ultimatum). The results were counterintuitive: women given testosterone actually made higher initial offers in the bargaining game, resulting in less conflict and more efficient social interactions. The researchers attributed the results to “a desire of the testosterone group to maintain their images — by avoiding rejection — aligning with the so-called social status hypothesis.” [%comments]