Men with high levels of testosterone

Have you heard of the ultimatum game? It is played with two participants. The first is offered $40 and allowed to choose how much of that $40 to share with the second person. If the second person accepts the offer, the money is awarded to each as agreed. If the second person rejects the offer, neither gets any money. Economic theory predicts that the second person should always accept the offer. After all, $1 is better than nothing, but research has shown that people expect a little more fairness, and will reject lopsided offers. Now, probing further, one researcher discovered that men with high levels of testosterone are more likely to reject lowball offers.
In fact, the responders who rejected a low final offer had an average testosterone level more than 50% higher than the average of those who accepted. It looks like "what people really strive for is relative rather than absolute prosperity. They would rather accept less themselves than see a rival get ahead. That is likely to be particularly true in individuals with high testosterone levels, since that hormone is correlated with social dominance in many species".

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

If I had an opportunity to talk with the other person and to establish that we were in this together, then I would consider any offer less than half to be an insult, and I would reject it. Not because I don't want some money, but because I would feel bad enduring the insult.

If it were presented to me as a somewhat anonymous take it or leave it, in which the person has agreed to "give" me some small amount of "his" money, then I would be thinking of it as a shared gift from the guy with the $40, not the two of us sharing the "plundered" $40. Therefore, I would accept almost any amount with gratitude.

A great deal depends on whether it is presented as being owned by the third party and I am part of a sharing arrangement, or whether it is owned by the second party, who is sharing "his" gift.

By the way: I am a 57 year old male, who takes testosterone suppliments to bring me back up to "optimum", which is the level of a 20 year old male.

Peter, from Oregon