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14 March 2011
Success at seduction linked to testosterone
by George Atkinson

Thanks to researchers at Wayne State University, we now have a better understanding of how testosterone influences competitive success when men battle for the attention of an attractive woman.

Their research engaged pairs of men in a seven-minute videotaped competition for the attention of an attractive female undergraduate. Pre-competition testosterone levels were positively associated with men's dominance behaviors in the mate competition (how assertive they were and how much they took control of the conversation) and with how much the woman indicated that she clicked with each of the men.

Wayne State's Richard Slatcher said the effects of testosterone on dominance behaviors were especially pronounced among men who reported having a high need for social dominance. In his study, published in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science, these men showed a strong positive association between their own testosterone and their own dominance behaviors and, most surprisingly, a strong negative association between their own testosterone and their opponents' dominance behaviors. That is, men both high in testosterone and who reported a high need for social dominance appeared to be able somehow suppress their competitors' ability to attract potential mates.

"We found that testosterone levels influenced men's dominance behaviors during the competitions, how much they derogated their competitors afterward, and how much the woman said she 'clicked' with them," said Slatcher. "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."

"These findings highlight an important difference between humans and animals," said Slatcher. "In humans - unlike animals - explicit, conscious motives can affect how a hormone such as testosterone shapes behavior. Our findings indicate that testosterone is associated with dominance behaviors and success when men compete for the attention of an attractive woman."

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Source: Wayne State University

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