Old Men Can Be Grumpy—But at Least They’re Honest…

testosterone makes old men grumpy --- and honestAs men age, our testosterone levels generally fall and everyone around us seems to get so much more annoying. Well, at least it feels that way. Lower testosterone levels have been associated with depression, anger, poor concentration, grouchiness, and irritability. Levels of this male sex hormone levels start slipping naturally—and noticeably—starting at around age 60. But medical conditions such as kidney disease and diabetes can reduce hormone levels in much younger men.

Hormones aren’t the only things causing aging men to become grumpy. As men get older and near retirement age they often feel useless—and that’s enough to make anyone a little short tempered. Those feelings of uselessness can be aggravated when the kids move out of the house, start lives of their own, and no longer ask dear old dad for help all the time.

Okay, grumpiness and the like are some of the side effects of low testosterone. But what happens when a guy has a little extra? If you thought the result would be an increase in aggression, risky behavior, and macho posturing, you’d be wrong. It turns out that rather than increasing anti-social behavior, more testosterone may actually make men more honest—at least that’s what Dr. Matthias Wibral says.

Wibral, an economist at the University of Bonn in Germany, and his colleagues worked with a group of 91 men. They applied a testosterone-level-increasing gel to the skin of 46 of the guys, and a placebo gel to the test. Then they had the guys play a game of dice. The higher their score—which was entirely self-reported—the more money they received. Naturally, the researchers were observing and they knew when the men were lying.

The results? The men who had higher testosterone levels were a lot more honest about their scores than the regular-testosterone-level group.

The study was published in the journal PLoS One.

Armin Brott

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Armin Brott is the proud father of three, a former U.S. Marine, a best-selling author, radio host, speaker, and one of the country’s leading experts on fatherhood. He writes frequently about fatherhood, families, and men's health. Read more about Armin or visit his website, mrdad.com. You can also connect via social media: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest,  and Linkedin.
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