This week's Economist reports that biologists are turning their attention to management, and in particular looking at how biochemistry and genetics affect how people work with one another. Dr. Michael Zyphur (then of the National University of Singapore and now at the University of Melbourne) led a study of how testosterone is related to status and what the Economist calls the "collective effectiveness of groups." (I think that means whether co-workers can actually get anything done.) His team found that "the greater the mismatch between testosterone and status, the less effectively a group's member's cooperate," which in business means lower productivity, and thus lower income.
The article then discusses a study by Gad Saad and John Vongas of Concordia University (Montreal), which it sums up as follows: "Men's testosterone levels responded precisely to changes in how they perceived their status. Testosterone shot up, for example, when they got behind the wheel of a sexy sports car and fell when they were made to drive a clunky family saloon car."
It occurred to me that the results of Drs. Saad and Vongas explain why our local transit authorities like to spend money on trains and not on buses. Trains are sexy; buses are clunky. What's motivating our transit planners may not be nostalgia, or federal money, or construction contracts and union jobs for their friends, but plain old hormones.