Can Winning Increase Testosterone Levels?
Can winning be a driver for increased testosterone levels?
According to a study by the University of Stirling, Scotland, yes, winning alone can increase testosterone levels, which in turn, can contribute to winning even more.
It was discovered that in the animal kingdom, the winning effect is extremely well tested and a robust phenomenon whereby a fight or competition is anticipated the levels of testosterone surge.
This can increase the level of oxygen pumped around the body to heightening confidence levels.
The victor of this fight or competition can see their testosterone levels surge even more which can have a positive affect on their next encounter.
This has been studied in many animals from insects to monkeys.
However, not all scientists believe in this theory.
They merely suggest the laws of probability are to play and call it the ‘hot hands theory’, to which a notable study was published 32 years ago in 1985 called the Hot Hand in Basketball.
However, the robust testing from within the animal kingdom has lead to some biologists and sports physiologists garner a much more developed understanding of the winning effect, bolstered furthermore by the latest research from the Queensland University of Technology Business School.
This study wanted to establish whether or not the winning effect is applicable to human competition and not just the animal kingdom.
To do this, the researchers analysed a database of almost 400,000 tennis matches between competitors that were as closely matched in terms of skill and rank.
This went further still by ensuring that the matches went to a tie in the first set.
IN summary, the winners of the first set would then have a 60% chance of winning the next set. On the other side of the coin, the loser of that first set would then only have a 40% chance of winning the second set.
However, the competitors testosterone levels were not analyzed…
Yet, when female tennis players’ matches and data was reviewed the winners of the first set only had a 51% chance of winning the second set but the losers had a 53% chance of winning.
This analysis protocol is considered to be very clean and dismisses behavioral theory studies.
This then, backs the theory that the winning effect is driven by testosterone levels.