I happen to be very trusting of strangers—I trust that they are trying to screw with me, every chance that they get. But apparently, this is a very male trait—testosterone-packed dudes are not only gifted with strength and aggression, but also cynicism. In a study conducted at Cape Town University, 24 women around the age of 20 were given either testosterone or dummy pills and asked to rate the trustworthiness of strangers’ faces on a scale of -100 to +100. Those who ingested the testosterone pill judged the photos an average of 5% less trustworthy. Testosterone is believed to better prepare a person for competition, the ability to fight for resources, and to “watch their back” for danger. Taking the hormone made the women less open to deception and more vigilant in general. The scientists suggest that, historically, it’s been beneficial for women to be cooperative for survival. But now that we live in this sick, sad world, it might benefit us to pick up some of these testosterone traits.Dr. Jack van Honk explains, “In the same way that we have evolved capacities to help others, we have also evolved capacities to deceive and cheat. Thus, those who are willing to believe what others say, or fail to probe the motivations underlying their actions, may fall prey to considerable economic and social costs.”
I think I might need to pop some testosterone since every time I see an infomercial, I have to fight to not call that toll-free number. But if all of us are evolving to be less trusting of each other, what will happen to the world? While I wish I didn’t fall for every creep who batted his eyelashes at me, I think it would get tedious to think everyone is out to get me. Sure, they probably are, but without those minutes or months learning that, I would probably miss a lot of happy times. And I would probably never go on another date again. Which might not be the worst thing in the world.
Slightly less relevant, but why were there only 24 women in this study? And what are the side effects of taking testosterone pills? Mustaches? And no offense, but the name “Jack van Honk” sounds made up. Or awesome. I haven’t decided. [Telegraph]