Hosted by Sandra Tsing Loh, The Loh Down on Science is a fun way to get your daily dose of science plus a dash of humor in less than two minutes.
Hosted by Sandra Tsing Loh
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An unexpected way testosterone may affect men's work choices

What makes men really manly?  Could it be ... self-employment? 

This is Sandra Tsing Loh with the Loh Down on Science, talking testosterone.

Scientists already associate high testosterone levels with risk taking and competitiveness.  Now, researchers from the Universities of Birmingham, Adelaide, and Surrey are reporting another potential connection with the studly steroid:  being self-employed. 

The researchers studied nearly 1,200 Australian men between the ages of 35 and 80.  What did they find?  That the men who had significantly higher testosterone levels were about 10 percent more likely to be self-employed. 

Since an association doesn't mean one thing causes another, it's possible that high testosterone leads men to choose self-employment – or that self-employment somehow raises testosterone levels.  It's what researcher Gary Wittert calls the classic "what came first, the chicken or the egg?" scenario.

Wittert does point out that when men compete in sports and lose, their testosterone levels tend to drop after the game.  So testosterone levels may similarly drop when men work for others, and feel that as a loss.

As always, more work is needed.  By people with any amount of testosterone!

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

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