Testosterone is Like Cocaine

Women and men both have testosterone. Men have 10 to 20 times more of it though. And testosterone has strong effects on muscle growth, feelings of confidence, and mood (among other things). When people are given extra testosterone, they feel more energetic, more confident, and more aggressive. 

One of the things about men that exasperate women is that he is "overconfident," which, in a technical sense, he is. He feels more certain about what he's doing and the decisions he makes than she does, generally speaking. He's more likely to feel he's right and he's more likely to be wrong than she is (click here to read more about these differences and why they exist). 

This overconfidence seems like a flaw, but it is also an advantage, and that's why evolution selected for it. To see how it's an advantage, check out an article by two women in The Atlantic: The Confidence Gap. Basically, if someone has more confidence, he's more likely to speak up, to put his ideas forward, to act on his ideas, etc. It adds up to greater success, even though he's more likely to make mistakes, more likely to be wrong, and more likely to pitch dumb ideas.

There is a benefit to you if you understand this. If you're a man, it can help you make better decisions to realize your feeling of confidence isn't necessarily correlated to how right you are. And if you're a woman, it's in your best interest to understand that the man you're talking to is under the influence of a very powerful cocaine-like substance.

Adam Khan is the author of What Difference Does It Make?: How the Sexes Differ and What You Can Do About ItPrinciples For Personal GrowthDirect Your Mindand co-author with Klassy Evans of How to Change the Way You Look at Things (in Plain English)Follow his podcast, The Adam BombYou can email him here.

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