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Testosterone, Facial Symmetry and Cooperation in the Prisoners' Dilemma

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Abstract

Recent research has analyzed how individual characteristics, like the exposure to different hormones and symmetry, affect decision-making and strategic behaviour. The present article investigates the effect of symmetry, of exposure to testosterone (T) in utero and during puberty and of current T on cooperation in a Prisoners' Dilemma Game (PDG). T is a hormone with well known effect on males' behaviour, and that promotes activities that seek to increase reproductive success. Fluctuating Asymmetry (FA) reflects the ability of the organism to maintain a stable development and it is usually employed as a variable reflecting genetic quality (low FA values are thought to signal higher genetic quality). Our results show that subjects with intermediate levels of second to fourth digit ratio (a proxy of exposure to T in utero) and with high FA cooperate more often in the PDG. We also observe that the latter effect is due to the fact that FA has an impact on subjects' expectations about the behaviour of their counterpart in the game. These results reinforce the described link between markers related to genetic quality and cooperative behaviour. This possible linkage of individual condition and pro-social behaviour in humans clearly merits further attention.

Suggested Citation

  • Santiago Sanchez-Pages & Enrique Turiegano, 2009. "Testosterone, Facial Symmetry and Cooperation in the Prisoners' Dilemma," ESE Discussion Papers 192, Edinburgh School of Economics, University of Edinburgh.
  • Handle: RePEc:edn:esedps:192
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    Cited by:

    1. Andreas C. Drichoutis & Rodolfo M. Nayga, Jr., 2015. "Do Risk and Time Preferences Have Biological Roots?," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 82(1), pages 235-256, July.
    2. S., Sanchez Pages & E., Tureigano, 2013. "Two Studies on the Interplay between Social Preferences and Individual Biological Features," SIRE Discussion Papers 2013-46, Scottish Institute for Research in Economics (SIRE).
    3. Pablo Branas-Garza & Jaromir Kovarik & Levent Neyse, 2013. "Second-to-Fourth Digit Ratio has a Non-Monotonic Impact on Altruism," Working Papers 13-09, Chapman University, Economic Science Institute.
    4. Burkhard C. Schipper, 2015. "Sex Hormones and Competitive Bidding," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 61(2), pages 249-266, February.
    5. Dalton, P.S. & Ghosal, S., 2014. "Self-Confidence, Overconfidence and Prenatal Testorone Exposure : Evidence from the Lab," Discussion Paper 2014-014, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
    6. Matthew Pearson & Burkhard Schipper, 2012. "The visible hand: finger ratio (2D:4D) and competitive bidding," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 15(3), pages 510-529, September.
    7. Neyse, Levent & Ring, Patrick & Bosworth, Steven, 2015. "Prenatal testosterone exposure predicts mindfulness: Does this mediate its effect on happiness?," Kiel Working Papers 1999, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW).
    8. Pablo Brañas-Garza & Jaromír Kovárík, 2013. "Digit Ratios and Social Preferences: A Comment on Buser (2012)," Working Papers 13-31, Chapman University, Economic Science Institute.
    9. Thomas Buser, 2011. "Hormones and Social Preferences," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 11-046/3, Tinbergen Institute.
    10. Patricio S. Dalton & Sayantan Ghosal, 2014. "Self-Confidence, Overconfidence and Prenatal Testosterone Exposure: Evidence from the Lab," Working Papers 2014_02, Business School - Economics, University of Glasgow.
    11. Burkhard Schipper, 2012. "Sex Hormones and Choice under Risk," Working Papers 127, University of California, Davis, Department of Economics.
    12. Noussair, Charles N. & Offerman, Theo & Suetens, Sigrid & Van de Ven, Jeroen & Van Leeuwen, Boris & Van Veelen, Matthijs, 2014. "Predictably angry: Facial cues provide a credible signal of destructive behavior," IAST Working Papers 14-15, Institute for Advanced Study in Toulouse (IAST).
    13. Neyse, Levent & Friedl, Andreas & Schmidt, Ulrich, 2014. "Payment Scheme Changes and Effort Provision: The Effect of Digit Ratio," MPRA Paper 59549, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    14. Munoz-Reyes, J. A. & Pita, M. & Arjona, M. & Sanchez-Pages, S. & Turiegano, E., 2013. "Who is the fairest of them all? The independent effect of attractive features and self-perceived attractiveness on cooperation among women," SIRE Discussion Papers 2013-70, Scottish Institute for Research in Economics (SIRE).

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    Keywords

    testosterone; cooperation; prisoners' dilemma; fluctuating asymmetry; facial masculinity; 2D:4D;

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