If George Washington couldn’t tell a lie, German researchers think they might know why. They have pinpointed a hormone that seems to keep people honest. Perhaps the father of our country was hormonally unable to prevaricate.
Surprisingly, the hormone that seems to keep you from lying is testosterone. The researchers gave testosterone to 46 men and then compared their behavior to 45 men who did not receive the hormone.
“(We found) that the test subjects with the higher testosterone levels had clearly lied less frequently than untreated test subjects,” reports researcher Armin Falk.
In the study, the men were given money according to how many times they rolled certain numbers on dice. However, they could easily lie about their totals and collect more. The men given testosterone were found to be significantly more likely to tell the truth about their scores.
“[T]here are very few studies on the biological causes of lying,” says Falk. “In this regard, this study has allowed us to make a big step forward.”