The Loh Down On Science

A surprising new study about testosterone and adultery

Not coveting thy neighbor’s wife isn't only Biblically-indicated, it’s biological!

This is Sandra Tsing Loh with the Loh Down on Science.

Conventional wisdom is that most teenage boys covet every female that moves. But once in adulthood, men seem biologically disposed to avoid adultery—at least with the wives of close friends. 

So say anthropologists from the University of Missouri. Typically, adult males' testosterone levels rise when they interact with a potential sexual partner. But in men interacting with the spouse of a close friend? The Missouri team found that testosterone level actually drops.

Going after thy neighbor's wife is arguably rare considering how many chances there are to do so.  Do we really have the tenth commandment to thank? Weeeelll ... that or evolution. From that standpoint, betraying another man’s trust and family could endanger the survival of whole communities. 

So the researchers think men’s brains have evolved to be more interested in forming alliances then destroying a friend’s relationship. 

Or at least in avoiding that more modern commandment: “Thou shalt split community property 50/50.”   Sure!

***** For more 90-SECOND SCIENCE FACTS, click here.*****

The Loh Down on Science is produced by LDOS Media Lab, with 89.3 KPCC. And made possible by the generous support of the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation.

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