The world--or at least a certain subset of academia--continues to investigate testosterone's correlations with various aspects of life, and it makes for fascinating reading.

Within this 'genre' our attention turned to a University of Bristol study that investigates the correlation of testosterone levels with the success men achieved, typically at work.

In the study a large sample--more than 300,000 men--was studied for two attributes and then a correlation drawn. One, what were the genetic markers that predict testosterone levels, and two, the level of success achieved in socioeconomic terms. In short, the correlation was insignificant.

We read this news with a mixture of mild bemusement and a quiet I-could-have-told-you-so-ness. Mostly because testosterone is a biological marker while success, as defined in the study, is so clearly a sign of various forms of capital (Michel Foucault, anyone?) However two other attributes relevant to the question must be mentioned here:


1. Testosterone is likely to correlate with more risk-taking behaviour, and while that means there might be a correlation between slightly higher testosterone levels and very big winners, on the whole the risk-reward systems can't make all risk taking viable.

2. It is not a unidirectional relationship. Keen readers of this space will remember the piece about sports fans who saw some spikes in testosterone level if their team won, but in which analysis the baseline is testosterone level before the big event. In the case of socioeconomic success, there is no necessarily discrete event equivalent to the big match.

On the balance there seems to be enough there to say that the result was not altogether unexpected.

Anyway, here's a way to see how testosterone, or its decline with age might be at play in your lived experience. A short self-assessment that helps you index your experience of ageing. Do give it a go.

Testosterone And Male Ageing Self-Assessment