(RYAN O'HARE 2016)

Why aren't men as caring as women? Blame their hormones! High levels of testosterone affect parts of the brain linked with emotion


Women may be better at empathy (stock image) than men because of the effects of testosterone on the brain. A new study has revealed that women who had been administered high doses of the hormone took longer to identify emotions and made more mistakes than those who hadn’t taken testosterone

  • "Researchers in Holland focused on how testosterone affects empathy
  • In women given high doses of the hormone their brain activity changed
  • They were slower to recognise emotions and made more mistakes in tasks
  • The findings show that elevated testosterone can affect how brain regions communicate, reducing a person's ability to empathise with others.
In the study, led by Dr Peter Bos of Utrecht University, a small group of women was tested to see what effect testosterone had on how their brains processed empathy."

How can an understanding of the effects of testosterone help in teaching empathy empathy?

Based on Study
  • Peter A. Bos
  • Dennis Hofman,
  • Erno J. Hermans,
  • Estrella R. Montoya,
  • Simon Baron-Cohen,
  • Jack van Honk
  • Testosterone impairs cognitive empathy on the Reading the Mind in Eyes-test.
  • Using fMRI, we investigated how testosterone reduces cognitive empathy.
  • Testosterone reduced connectivity of the left IFG with the ACC and the SMA.
  • This network underlies integration of sensory information and action preparation."


  • block empathy raise testosterone 
  • increase empathy - lower testosterone