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Behavioural Science

Testosterone hinders collaboration

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Women taking testosterone pills collaborate less effectively than those given a placebo.

Nicholas Wright and his colleagues at University College London asked 17 pairs of women to decide individually if a set of striped circles on one screen was brighter than those on a second screen. If the women within a pair disagreed, they had to collaborate to come up with a joint decision.

The team found that the women were generally more accurate when they collaborated than when working alone. However, testosterone decreased this boost in the women's performance compared with placebo, even though the hormone did not affect the accuracy of the decisions made individually. The authors suggest that the hormone causes individuals to place much more weight on their own judgment than on that of others.

Proc. R. Soc. B 10.1098/rspb.2011.2523 (2012)

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Testosterone hinders collaboration. Nature 483, 377 (2012).

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