April 19, 2006
Scantily Clad Women Make High Testosterone Men Drive Lousy Bargains

Economists Siegfried Dewitte and Bram Van den Bergh havd found that the sight of attractive women makes men who experienced high testosterone in the womb to drive weaker bargains in betting games.

It seems that the more macho a man is at least according to his hormones the more the sight of an attractive woman will affect his judgement.

Researchers at the University of Leuven in Belgium asked men to play an ultimatum game, in which they split a certain amount of money between them. High-testosterone men drove the hardest bargain unless they had previously viewed pictures of bikini-clad models, in which case they were more likely to accept a poorer deal.

The sight of flesh had less effect on the bargaining tactics of low-testosterone men.

A low testosterone executive could benefit from bringing sexy female administrative assistants to negotiations with higher testosterone representatives of other businesses.

They tested for previous testosterone exposure by looking at the relative lengths of ring fingers and index fingers.

The men's testosterone levels were also tested - by comparing the length of the men's index finger compared to their ring finger.

If the ring finger is longest, it indicates a high testosterone level.

The researchers found that men in the study who had the highest levels performed worst in the test, and suggest that is because they are particularly sensitive to sexual images.

Dr Siegfried DeWitte, one of the researchers who worked on the study, said: "We like to think we are all rational beings, but our research suggests ... that people with high testosterone levels are very vulnerable to sexual cues.

"If there are no cues around, they behave normally.

"But if they see sexual images they become impulsive."

What masculine men need is some sort of drug that'll suppress their reaction to sexy women. The ability to turn it off would enhance one's ability to think rationally. But we'd want the effects to be temporary of course!

Also see my previous post "Index And Ring Finger Lengths Partially Predict Violent Tendencies".

Share |      Randall Parker, 2006 April 19 09:22 PM  Brain Sexuality

Bill Billheimer said at April 20, 2006 7:10 AM:


This is one subtlety that many news reports left out, as firstly, it's controversial as to whether digit ratio does relate to testosterone exposure in the womb, and secondly, it's not clear how this relates to current levels of testosterone at all. In fact, immediate levels of testosterone can fluctuate wildly.

The best write-up of the study's details I've found is from Nature (http://www.nature.com/news/2006/060417/full/060417-1.html) , who do the study justice and point out that the results actually contradict the idea that sexy images makes men less rational. In the study, they actually made men more rational.

Mike Sierra said at April 21, 2006 8:26 AM:

Let me be the first to say it: sexy female administrative assistants? How dare you!

CASpears said at April 21, 2006 2:18 PM:

Did we really have to do a study on this...it is pretty much common sense to me.

Bob Badour said at April 21, 2006 4:17 PM:

He dared!

However, it would probably be more effective to hire very attractive models to act like they are doing things around the office and maybe one to interrupt the negotiations and bend over to whisper an important nothing in the ear of the low testosterone negotiator.

It would be a useful ploy that would give the negotiator an opportunity to step out for a brief period if he felt that would help the negotiations. Sorta like the used car salesman having 'to clear things with the manager'.

Ian Woolf said at April 26, 2006 11:27 PM:

Does anyone have the name of the original scientific paper? The Nature article is subscription only.

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