Generosity is the quality and virtue of being kind and thankful. There are only a few people who rightly follow the steps of generosity and do not try to act avariciously. Therefore, a team of researchers from Shenzhen University, have been working out to find out the hormones that could trigger generosity in some men while the reason why other remains cold-hearted.
Researchers, led by Yin Wu in the experiment, were able to identify testosterone as a possible hormone in men, which makes them appear more generous when watched by others. Shenzhen University, Wayne State University, and Peking University collaborated to reach the conclusion.
The study paper, which now appears in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B, reports that an increased amount of testosterone shows a greater impact on the brain. They predict that it boosts the desire for men to stand out and enhance their status.
The study is contradicted by research published in the journal PLoS ONE in 2009. It proved that the administration of testosterone in men decreases their generosity and shows a significant effect on their pro-social behaviors.
Another 2016 study, found in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, states that spiked testosterone levels could lead to both social and antisocial behaviors, depending on the environment. At that time, they concluded it by calling the ultraism as a status display. However, a recent study states otherwise.
The new research challenges old clinical studies where men showed antisocial behavior on increased levels of testosterone. What has brought this substantial change is another story. Rubbing testosterone gel on the arms proved to be an effective way to get attention and be generous.
It has been noted that the audience effect plays a critical role in donations. People tend to make greater contributions and charity when they are asked in front of others. With prior information that showed a link between testosterone and status-seeking behavior, researchers were eager to better understand the hypothesis by experimenting with young men.
Yin Wu took 140 young individuals age 18 – 25 to rub testosterone packs on the upper arm and shoulders. Without letting them know, half of them got the placebo treatment. After waiting for three long hours to let the hormone penetrate the cells, they were asked to make a donation to a well-reputed organization.
The main purpose of the setup was to see how testosterone and a group of onlookers could affect generosity. Therefore, while some of them were asked to donate privately, the rest were left to be volunteered by people.
The result was as expected. After analyzing the data, they found that the group of people, who received a massage by testosterone gel and donated in front of people, contributed most among the individuals.
Yin Wu and his team suggest that it is because the volunteers wanted to uplift their status and show themselves attractive. The reason behind this behavior lies in the effect of testosterone on the brain. It is common to find generosity as a part of improving social standing.
Testosterone raises the concern for status as it was proved when the participants tried to avoid all the possible scenarios of rejection in public. The prior researches have always been focusing on how testosterone had a risk of promoting antisocial behavior, which includes rejection in the UG and selfishness.
Yin Wu, with his new masterpiece, has made other researchers question the prior research and actual working of testosterone. However, it has been made clear that testosterone can promote both antisocial and social behaviors but depends upon their instrumental value to uplift the status.