Women who are night owls share the same high propensity for risk-taking as men, according to a recent study by a University of Chicago professor.
The research suggests that sleep patterns are linked with important character traits and behavior, said study author Dario Maestripieri, professor in Comparative Human Development. Night owlspeople who tend to stay up late and wake up late in the morningare different in many important ways from early risers, he found.
"Night owls, both males and females, are more likely to be single or in short-term romantic relationships versus long-term relationships, when compared to early birds," Maestripieri said. "In addition, male night owls reported twice as many sexual partners than male early birds."
The study, published in the February edition of the journal Evolutionary Psychology, draws on data from earlier research of more than 500 graduate students at the UChicago Booth School of Business. That initial study assessed financial risk aversion among male and female students and found men are more willing to take financial risks than women. Females with high testosterone levels, however, were more similar to males in financial risk-taking, that study found.
Maestripieri wanted to explore why men take more risks than women. He was curious whether sleep patterns have any influence on these tendencies, through an association with differences in personality and in novelty-seeking.
The study participants (110 males and 91 females) provided saliva samples to assess their levels of cortisol and testosterone. Those levels were measured before and after participants took a computerized test of their tendencies for financial risk aversion. The participants also described their own willingness to take risks and gave information about their sleep patterns.
Men had higher cortisol and testosterone levels than women; however, night-owl women had cortisol levels comparable to ni
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University of Chicago