Exercising power gives women a testosterone boost, research suggests

In a new study at the University of Michigan, researchers discovered that women who were asked to play-act scenarios where they wielded power over someone, got a boost in testosterone production — showing that both ‘nature’ and ‘nurture’ play a role in hormone production. For the experiment, 100 actors were asked to fire a lower-ranked employee in either a typically “masculine” or typically “feminine” way. Women in both scenarios showed a spike in testosterone levels (compared to a control group), leading researchers to conclude that the mere act of exercising power could be seen as a “testosterone trigger,” even without the masculine performance. Men, on the other hand didn’t see a testosterone boost in either scenario — which researchers suggest might be explained by a diminished testosterone response, as they have more experience in participating in similar situations. This study adds to a growing amount of research suggesting that hormone levels are mutable and influenced by many factors, including gender expectations and cultural norms.

Read the full story at Slate.

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