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Testosterone and Aggression Psychology

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This is one of the major questions people ask when it comes to testosterone – does it make you aggressive?

It’s one of the more common cliches with testosterone: More T equals more manliness, and more manliness equals aggression. However studies have shown that this isn’t the case. In fact it’s the opposite.

Testosterone and Aggression: The Myth of ‘Roid Rage’

In the news, you’re more likely to see a negative story on testosterone than a bad one – and this is because it sells. They mainly focus on on bodybuilders who use illegal steroids or drugs and love to coin the phrase ‘Roid Rage’.

‘Roid Rage’ is the idea that steroids pump people full of testosterone, and that makes them overly masculine and aggressive. However, there’s a huge misconception regarding this, and it’s actually the lack of testosterone that causes the rage – not the lack of it.

When injecting synthetic testosterone into your body, two things happen:

  1. Your testosterone levels skyrocket
  2. Your body stops producing it’s own testosterone

Because there’s so much testosterone in the body at this point, you stop producing it naturally, which can be incredibly dangerous.

testosterone-roid-rage

This is where the ‘Roid Rage’ comes in.

If someone taking testosterone doesn’t stay on top of their doses, their T-levels aren’t maintained, they start to deplete all the way down to zero if no action is taken. One of the main side effects of low testosterone is bad, argumentative mood – essentially trying to score back some dominance over others to boost their testosterone (More on that later). So it’s the low testosterone that’s causes the problem – not the abundance of it.

Studies have actually shown that individuals that have been injected with synthetic testosterone have seen to change their psychology and make them more cooperative, outgoing and friendly when it comes to working in a team or part of a group[1] – it’s just the after effects that you have to worry about.

How Testosterone Affects You Mentally

The Good – Preparation and Victory

Testosterone doesn’t make you see red and cloud your judgement, it actually promotes focus preparing you for the next task at hand. This has been seen countless times in sports and in times where an individual is under a lot of pressure.

One study[2] that measured the testosterone levels of surgeons performing major specialist surgery, essentially cases where the results were literally life or death, saw a dramatic 500% increase in testosterone levels. With similar results being reported in Grand-Master chess players, with testosterone levels shooting through the roof to have that focused and competitive edge[3].

Your body brings testosterone into these situations for a reason, it wants you to win. It reduces the amount of fear you usually experience and allows you to feel more comfortable taking risks. It also increases the amount of dopamine in your brain –  the reward chemical, wanting you to seek victory.

It doesn’t want you to be aggressive, it wants you to be dominant – two totally different things. One is an emotion, another is a status.

There are both good and bad points to this. On the one hand, victory gives you a surge of testosterone and dopamine, rewarding you for your success – wanting to compete again and keep winning. On the other hand losing could mean the opposite – lower testosterone and less desire to participate in activities.[4]

testosterone-win

The Bad – Loss and Survival

Losing is a big thing when it comes to competition, and when it comes to your testosterone levels – and there’s a big reason why this happens: Cortisol.

Cortisol is the stress hormone released by the body whenever times get tough, and you experience it a lot more when you’re losing – and what’s worse it lowers testosterone. What makes this even more frightening, is that your body does this on purpose.

Not only that, studies have shown if you have elevated cortisol levels before entering a competition, the odds are already stacked against you.[5]

Lower testosterone after losing is a survival mechanism scientists believe humans developed in the past to keep safe. Think about it; if you just lost at a fight, but were motivated to get back in ring against the guy who just whooped your ass, you’d get creamed. However, without that testosterone fueled motivation to continue, you’d cut your losses and live to fight another day.

The Necessary – Awareness

After you get to the top and achieve that ‘dominant’ status, you’re next step is to stay there for as long as possible. This is where your testosterone levels take on a different role – vigilance. Making sure you remain at #1.

Scientists first discovered this theory when monitoring the behavior of alpha male primates. Despite being the group leader, they were always suspicious of those around them, paranoid of another taking the top spot.

Recent studies have shown both men and women when injected with testosterone pay more attention to aggressive faces, giving them an enhanced ability to recognize threats. However, there was a big difference between men and women when it came to how they handled the threats.

When encountering an angry face men injected with T would stare down the aggressor, whereas women given the same amount would look away. Interestingly, women picked up on both female and male aggressors, while men only picked up on other males. [6]testosterone-awareness

Testosterone and Aggression – Conclusion

Testosterone makes you many things, but one thing it doesn’t make you is aggressive.

The idea of roid rage, and high testosterone causing an aggressive nature is actually not the case. This anger actually comes from the lack of testosterone in steroid users who are behind on their doses. How testosterone affects the brain is in fact very different.

Testosterone motivates you, giving you a positive outlook and less fear to tackle a difficult task ahead. The bigger the task the more you’re supplied with, you’re fighting for dominance and your body wants you to take the risk.

If you’re successful you’ll receive a surge of testosterone and dopamine, rewarding you for your hard work and encouraging you to continue. If you fail however, your T levels will drop and your body will fill with cortisol the stress hormone, discouraging you from re-attempting, a survival instinct we developed years a go to ensure we didn’t continue fighting a losing battle.

Once you’re at the top of your game testosterone will continue to flow, which may make you a little highly strung. The last thing you want to do is lose your position, and the feeling the hormones give you. This makes you naturally more observant and wary of other individuals to make sure you remain top dog.

A Note About Testosterone

TestoFuel does not in any way, recommend injecting testosterone to seek dominance. There are too many side effects associated with using the synthetic stuff, and your body develops a physical dependency on it for it’s fix of testosterone.

If you want to safely acquire more testosterone you need a Natural Testosterone Booster to raise your baseline. These are premium supplements that supply your body with all the nutrients it needs to naturally increase your body’s testosterone production – and TestoFuel is the best on the market.

To learn more about TestoFuel and how it can help you boost your testosterone and get you to that ‘dominant’ status, click here to see the full nutrient profile and why it works so well.

References

[1] Reimers L, Diekhof EK. Testosterone is associated with cooperation during intergroup competition by enhancing parochial altruism. Frontiers in Neuroscience. 2015;9:183. doi:10.3389/fnins.2015.00183.

[2] Brennan, P.A. et al., Serum testosterone levels in surgeons during major head and neck cancer surgery: a suppositional study, British Journal of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Volume 49 , Issue 3 , 190 – 193

[3] Allan Mazur, Alan Booth and James M. Dabbs Jr., Testosterone and Chess Competition, Allan Mazur, Alan Booth and James M. Dabbs Jr. Social Psychology Quarterly, Vol. 55, No. 1 (Mar., 1992), pp. 70-77

[4] Pranjal H. Mehta, Robert A. Josephs, Testosterone change after losing predicts the decision to compete again, Department of Psychology, The University of Texas at Austin, 1 University Station A8000, Austin, TX 78712-0187, USA

[5] Bonifazi M., Sardella F., Luppo C. (2000). Preparatory versus main competitions: differences in performances, lactate responses and pre-competition plasma cortisol concentrations in elite male swimmers. European Journal of Applied Physiology 82, 368-373

[6] Hong, Sang Wook, K. Lira Yoon, and Sophia Peaco. “Sex Differences in Perception of Invisible Facial Expressions.” Frontiers in Psychology 6 (2015): 392. PMC. Web. 18 Feb. 2016.


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