Alpha males take greater initiative in love, sports

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

TORONTO - Alpha males tend to take greater initiatives in relationships, sports and financial matters, a new study has found.

“Since women tend to be attracted to men who are fit, assertive and rich, men are apt to take risks with sports, people and money to be attractive to potential mates,” says Gad Saad, of Concordia University in Canada, who led the study.

“Our findings show an association between high testosterone and risk-taking among males in three domains: recreational, social and financial,” said Saad, who holds Concordia chair in Evolutionary Behavioral Sciences.

His co-author and Concordia doctoral student Eric Stenstrom explained that the tendency is influenced by testosterone exposure. “More testosterone in the womb can lead to more risks in the rink, the bar and the trading floor in later in life.”

Saad and his team analysed risk-taking among 413 male and female students using a survey, reported the journal Personality and Individual Differences.

“Prenatal testosterone exposure not only influences foetal brain development but it also slows the growth of the index finger relative to the sum of the four fingers excluding the thumb,” said another co-author of the study Zack Mendenhall.

The change in finger length produced by testosterone provides a handy measure of prenatal testosterone exposure, according to a Concordia statement.

The study compared the length of the index finger with all four digits and found that those with lower ratios were more likely to engage in risk-taking.

These findings were further confirmed by the additional measurement of the ratio between the index and ring finger. These correlations were only observed in men.

“A possible explanation for the null effects in women is that they do not engage in risky behaviour as a mating signal, whereas men do,” says Prof Saad.

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