Risk, personality and testosterone

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Gender differences in financial risk aversion and career choices are affected by testosterone:

Women are generally more risk averse than men. We investigated whether between- and within-gender variation in financial risk aversion was accounted for by variation in salivary concentrations of testosterone and in markers of prenatal testosterone exposure in a sample of >500 MBA students. Higher levels of circulating testosterone were associated with lower risk aversion among women, but not among men. At comparably low concentrations of salivary testosterone, however, the gender difference in risk aversion disappeared, suggesting that testosterone has nonlinear effects on risk aversion regardless of gender. A similar relationship between risk aversion and testosterone was also found using markers of prenatal testosterone exposure. Finally, both testosterone levels and risk aversion predicted career choices after graduation: Individuals high in testosterone and low in risk aversion were more likely to choose risky careers in finance. These results suggest that testosterone has both organizational and activational effects on risk-sensitive financial decisions and long-term career choices.



  1. Ah, my favorite hormone! 
    I remember some other research on investment bankers and testosterone levels. The high-test guys did better overall, and especially on high trading volume days. This was maybe a year ago.

  2. It makes perfect sense to me, since testosterone increases mood, energy and motivation in men. 
    Women respond the same, and it shows in their behavior. 
    Thanks for the interesting article!