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Prone to cheating? Blame your hormones

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  30 July 2015 12:00 AM GMT

New York, July 29: People with higher levels of the reproductive hormone testosterone and the stress hormone cortisol are more likely to repeatedly engage in cheating and other unethical behaviour, a new study suggests. First, elevated hormone levels predict likelihood of cheating. Then, a change of hormone levels during the act reinforces the behaviour, the study said. “Although the science of hormones and behaviour dates back to the early 19th century, only recently has research revealed just how powerful and pervasive the influence of the endocrine system is on human behaviour,” said corresponding author of the study Robert Josephs, professor of psychology at The University of Texas at Austin. For the study, the researchers asked 117 participants to complete a math test, grade it themselves and self-report the number of correctly completed problems. The more problems they got correct, the more money they would earn. From salivary samples collected before and after the test, the researchers found that individuals with elevated levels of testosterone and cortisol were more likely to overstate the number of correctly solved problems. “Elevated testosterone decreases the fear of punishment while increasing sensitivity to reward. Elevated cortisol is linked to an uncomfortable state of chronic stress that can be extremely debilitating,” Josephs said. “Testosterone furnishes the courage to cheat, and elevated cortisol provides a reason to cheat,” Josephs explained. Additiolly, participants who cheated showed lowered levels of cortisol and reported reductions in emotiol distress after the test, as if cheating provided some sort of stress relief. (IANS)

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