Why Are Men So Selfish? The Surprising Answer

It’s a common perception that men tend to be more selfish than women. But is there any truth to this notion? In this article, we’ll examine some surprising research on the topic and explore the question: why are men so selfish?

The Evolutionary Perspective

One possible explanation is rooted in evolution. According to some theories, men are more territorial and competitive than women because of their role as protectors and providers in primal societies. This inclination towards self-preservation may have carried over to modern times, resulting in some men prioritizing their own needs and desires over those of others.

The Hormonal Factor

Another factor that may influence male behavior is hormones. Testosterone, for instance, is known to increase aggression and dominance, which can result in selfish behavior. This hormone is present in significantly higher levels in men than in women, which may contribute to the perception that men are more selfish.

The Role of Socialization

While biology and evolution may play a role, socialization may also be a factor in shaping male behavior. Boys are often encouraged to be competitive and assertive, while girls are taught to be more nurturing and communal. These gendered expectations may affect how men and women perceive themselves and their responsibilities towards others, with men being more prone to individualistic behavior.

Stereotypes and Perception

It’s also worth considering how cultural stereotypes and media portrayals of men influence how we perceive their behavior. For instance, popular shows often depict men as self-centered and ego-driven, which may contribute to the perception that men are more selfish than women.

Gender Bias in Judgment

Additionally, gender bias may come into play when it comes to evaluating behavior. Psychologists have found that people are more likely to attribute negative qualities, like selfishness, to men than to women. This can result in biased judgments and inaccurate perceptions.

Individual Differences

Ultimately, it’s important to remember that behavior is complex, and individual differences can play a role in how selfish or altruistic a person is. While some men may exhibit selfish tendencies, others may prioritize their relationships and community. Similarly, women are not immune to selfish behavior.

The Importance of Perspective-Taking

One way to overcome gender bias and stereotypes is to practice perspective-taking. By considering the experiences and perspectives of others, we can better understand their motivations and actions.

Breaking Free of Gender Norms

Another way to combat selfish behavior is to challenge gender norms and expectations. By creating a less rigid and stereotypical view of masculinity, men may feel more empowered to be caring and empathetic. Breaking free of gender norms benefits men as well as women and can increase overall well-being and happiness.


In conclusion, the question of why men are so selfish is not a simple one, and the answer likely involves a complex interplay of biology, evolution, socialization, and perception. While some men may exhibit selfish behavior, it’s important to avoid stereotyping and remember that individual differences and environmental factors play a role. By breaking free of gender norms and practicing perspective-taking, we can help create a more compassionate and equal society.

Common Questions and Answers

  • Q: Are men actually more selfish than women?
    • A: It’s not accurate to say that all men are more selfish than women, as both genders display a wide range of behaviors and personality traits.
  • Q: Can hormone therapy affect selfishness in men?
    • A: There is some evidence to suggest that hormonal interventions, such as testosterone supplementation or suppression, can influence behavior. However, the long-term effects of such interventions on selfishness are not well understood.
  • Q: Can selfishness be unlearned?
    • A: Yes, selfish behaviors can be unlearned with conscious effort and practice. By cultivating empathy, perspective-taking, and a sense of social responsibility, individuals can become less self-centered and more compassionate.


  • Baron-Cohen, S. (2003). The essential difference: Men, women, and the extreme male brain. Penguin.
  • Chodorow, N. (1999). The reproduction of mothering: Psychoanalysis and the sociology of gender. University of California Press.
  • Hrdy, S. B. (2009). Mothers and others: The evolutionary origins of mutual understanding. Harvard University Press.
  • Krebs, D. L., & Van Hesteren, F. (1994). The development of altruism: Toward an integrative model. Developmental Review, 14(2), 103-158.
  • Stearns, S. C. (2017). Evolution: An introduction. Oxford University Press.

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