Testosterone Administration Reduces Lying in Men

M. Wibral, T.J. Dohmen, Dietrich Klingmüller, Bernd Weber, Armin Falk*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Lying is a pervasive phenomenon with important social and economic implications. However, despite substantial interest in the prevalence and determinants of lying, little is known about its biological foundations. Here we study a potential hormonal influence, focusing on the steroid hormone testosterone, which has been shown to play an important role in social behavior. In a double-blind placebo-controlled study, 91 healthy men (24.32 ± 2.73 years) received a transdermal administration of 50 mg of testosterone (n  =  46) or a placebo (n  =  45). Subsequently, subjects participated in a simple task, in which their payoff depended on the self-reported outcome of a die-roll. Subjects could increase their payoff by lying without fear of being caught. Our results show that testosterone administration substantially decreases lying in men. Self-serving lying occurred in both groups, however, reported payoffs were significantly lower in the testosterone group (p < 0.01). Our results contribute to the recent debate on the effect of testosterone on prosocial behavior and its underlying channels.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere46774
Number of pages5
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 10 Oct 2012


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