I'm not sure what this says about the finalists of The Apprentice but a new study argues that, among men at least, entrepreneurs have more testosterone than usual. Using saliva swabs, Roderick White and colleagues found 31 male business students who’d previously invested and managed their own ventures had significantly higher testosterone levels than 79 of their male class mates who’d never led their own business venture.
“A specific heritable characteristic of each individual, their testosterone level, explains something about the likelihood of that individual being significantly involved in creating a new venture”, the researchers said. “Entrepreneurs may not be born; but what one is born with affects the likelihood of that person engaging in entrepreneurial activities”.
The researchers said that, if replicated, the finding could raise ethical dilemmas. “Should venture capitalists be allowed to test the testosterone levels of would-be-entrepreneurs requesting new venture funding?”, they asked.
White, R.E., Thornhill, S. & Hampson, E. (2006). Entrepreneurs and evolutionary biology: The relationship between testosterone and new venture creation. Organisational Behaviour and Human Decision Processes, 100, 21-34.
Link to testosterone-themed boxer shorts (thanks Mind Hacks).