Professor in Evolutionary Psychology, Work and Organizational Psychology


Evolution and Cooperation

New evidence on testosterone and cooperation

Van Honk, J., Montoya, E., Bos, P., Van Vugt, M., & Terburg, D. (2012). New evidence on testosterone and cooperation. Nature, 485, E4-5. doi:10.1038/nature11136



In February 2010, Eisenegger et al. reported increased fair bargainingbehaviour after administration of testosterone in an ultimatum game.However, unfair offers in the ultimatum game typically are rejected; thus, not only the motives for social cooperation but also the threat offinancial punishmentmay have accounted for these effects. Here, using
the public goods game (PGG), we unambiguously show increased social cooperation after testosterone administration, but only among subjects with low levels of prenatal testosterone (measured by the right hand’s second-to-fourth-digit ratio (2D:4D)). This finding establishes positive effects of testosterone on social cooperation, with prenatal hormonal priming providing for important individual variability.

Copyright © 2012– Mark van Vugt