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Science News: Defeating Your Rivals Boosts Your Testosterone Levels


Humiliating your friends? Sadly, not so much.

Photo: Simon Watson / Getty Images | Licensed to Alpha Media Group 2013

So it turns out, like most things in things in this transient existence, Conan the Barbarian really did know what was best in life: “To crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and hear the lamentations of their women.” And now science has proved him right, using…science!

According to the smarty britches at the University of Missouri, the release of testosterone – the hormone responsible for your manly muscles, manly aggression levels, and manly resistance to osteoporosis – during competition is directly related to your relationship with who you’re competing against. The docs measured males playing games of dominoes and cricket in the Dominican Republic. When competing with friends, the test subjects’ testosterone levels remained the same, win or lose. But if the guinea pigs were…cricketing(?) against foes outside of their community, extra delicious male hormone was pumped into their brains if they were victorious…and their levels went down if they lost.

Also interesting? People watching the games had the same reaction, which may help explain fan behavior in organized sports, and why you’ve suddenly become best friends with the 400 lb. man with no shirt and violent gas seated next to you at your local ball game. 

Need more science? Check out Science Fact: Your Dog Hates Your Singing and Science Proves That Just Tasting Beer Gets You High