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  • Next time you're caught cheating in school, just blame hormones.

  • Hey, everyone, Amy here on DNews.

  • Pretty much everyone has cheated on a test at some point in their lives.

  • And while it's generally frowned upon and I don't condone it, peeking at the names of the Great Lakes on a geography test when you're 6 years old doesn't mean you're gonna grow up to be a horrible adult.

  • Some early psychological research into why kids cheat landed on moral development.

  • As we age, we become less egotistical and more moral, drawing us away from doing something we know is wrong.

  • Other studies have suggested cheating is the result of cost-benefit analysis.

  • If the reward for cheating is greater than the outcome of getting caught, kids will take the risk.

  • In either case, these rationales point to cheating as a subconscious decision.

  • But what if it's not a decision at all?

  • New research published in the "Journal of Experimental Psychology" says that those who cheat on tests do so because of hormones.

  • Extra testosterone gives us the courage to cheat, and extra cortisol gives us the motivation.

  • Researchers at the University of Texas at Austin asked a group of people to take a math test and grade it themselves,

  • knowing that the more questions they answered correctly would earn them more money.

  • They also took saliva samples before and after the test.

  • The results showed that people with elevated levels of testosterone and cortisol were more likely to lie about the number of questions they got right.

  • Testosterone decreases fear of punishment and increases sensitivity to reward, so that would explain why some cheated.

  • Elevated cortisol, meanwhile, is linked to a state of chronic stress that can be almost debilitating, so that could be a powerful motivator in deciding to cheat.

  • Those who cheated also showed lower levels of cortisol after the test, consistent with a reduction of emotional stress you might expect from having successfully cheated on a test.

  • So, that's good? Not really.

  • The reduction of stress triggered a powerful stimulation in the reward center of the brain, effectively reinforcing unethical behavior.

  • The flip side is that people with lower levels of both testosterone and cortisol could be less prone to this unethical behavior.

  • But it's not like parents could remove testosterone from their children for the sake of better test-taking behavior.

  • Instead, there are ways to break that cycle of hormonal response reinforcing cheating.

  • Research cited in the same study says that individuals rewarded in a group are less susceptible to the effects of testosterone on performance,

  • and those who engage in stress-reducing activities like yoga were less moved to cheat due to lower cortisol levels.

  • So, if you want to raise an ethical student, group yoga might helpat least, that's my own thought.

  • And if you're curious to know more of my own thoughts on other topicsnamely, spacebe sure to check out my personal channel, Vintage Space.

  • The starter cartridge in the Titan II burned for only about a second,

  • and it came with this very distinctive noise thatnow that I'm gonna make it right here, you're definitely gonna hear it in the launch.

  • It kinda sounds like a "bwoop".

  • Three, two, one, zero.

  • So, be honest, did you guys ever cheat on a test in grade school?

  • Let us know in the comments below, and don't forget to subscribe for more DNews everyday of the week.

Next time you're caught cheating in school, just blame hormones.

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