Testosterone Administration Reduces Lying in Men

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

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

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
JournalPLOS ONE
Volume7
Issue number10
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 10 Oct 2012

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