Testosterone Supplements May Lead to Impulsive Decision-Making

Fagjun | Published 2017-05-02 22:56

Testosterone supplements may make men more impulsive and less likely to reflect before making a decision, a study finds.

A ball and a bat cost $1.10 total. The bat costs $1 more than the ball. How much does the bat cost?

If you answered right off that the bat costs $1, you're wrong. If the bat costs $1, then the ball costs 10 cents. In that case, the bat would cost only 90 cents more than the ball. However, the problem states that the bat costs $1 more than the ball. The correct answer is that the bat costs $1.05, and the ball costs five cents.

Don't feel bad if you answered incorrectly, though. Many people would probably answer in the same way, since the problem seems so simple. If you're the type to rely on your gut instinct and impulses, then you're more likely to accept the first answer that comes to mind.

Do Testosterone Supplements Make Men More Impulsive?

Does testosterone gel have some unknown and unlisted effects?

Researchers randomly selected participants that received a dose of testosterone gel, while the remaining participants received a placebo gel dose. After they received their doses, the participants took a cognitive reflection test. Cognitive reflection tests measure people's ability to reflect on their mental processes. Cognitive reflection also helps us avoid making errors.

The question above is one of the questions that the participants had to answer in their cognitive reflection test. Again, people who rely more on gut instincts and intuition to make decisions are more likely to answer the question incorrectly. However, people are also more likely to answer correctly through cognitive reflection. The test did not have a time limit, so participants had as much time as they needed to answer the questions.

The results of the test were quite interesting. The group that received the testosterone supplements scored significantly lower than the placebo group. The researchers also noted that when the testosterone group answered more quickly, their answers were more likely to be incorrect. When they took more time on a question, their answer was more likely to be correct.

Testosterone and Confidence

The researchers think that higher levels of testosterone, which testosterone supplements cause, lead to higher levels of confidence. Higher confidence means that people are more likely to think that they're right. There's not enough self-doubt to leave space for self-reflection. Thus, there's a smaller chance that people will be able to correct any errors they may have made.

Other studies have found that testosterone is instrumental in animals when males need to fight over mates. In humans, testosterone levels also rise when competition occurs.

Though the researchers claim that the results of their study are clear, others in the field do not necessarily agree. Shane Frederick, the developer of the cognitive reflection test, thinks that there is a problem with the correlation in the conclusions of the study. Meanwhile, another research team that conducted a very similar research found that higher testosterone didn't impact cognitive reflection.

The effects of testosterone and testosterone supplements are quite complicated. There needs to be more research into the effects of these supplements to ensure that people who take them are fully aware of what they're getting into.

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