Presentation Title

The Effects of Testosterone and Decision Making Following a Competition

Advisor Information

Rosemary Strasser

Location

Dr. C.C. and Mabel L. Criss Library

Presentation Type

Poster

Start Date

7-3-2014 1:00 PM

End Date

7-3-2014 4:00 PM

Abstract

Testosterone (T) has been identified as a hormone that influences aggressive behaviors across many species, including humans (for a review see Archer, 2006). This link between T and aggression has been studied in many situations, including those where social status is in jeopardy. Previous research has pointed to elevated T levels promoting aggressive behaviors aimed at gaining and maintaining social status, possibly via separate processes. The first process is short-term increases in T resulting from exposure to stimuli that signal an opportunity to gain social status. The second process is prolonged elevation of T levels resulting from prior experience in situations where social status was gained. Additionally, a limited amount of evidence has emerged showing that short-term increases in T may be inhibited in individuals concurrently experiencing elevated cortisol levels. The following study was designed to investigate the relationship between cortisol levels, short-term increases in T and aggressive behaviors aimed at gaining vs. maintaining, social status. Adult males were asked to compete on a pen and paper task, report their need for status, and their willingness to compete again after the initial competition. Saliva samples were obtained before and after the competition to measure changes in T and cortisol as a result of competing. These hormone changes were then compared to participants’ reports of their willingness to competing again in an attempt to further elucidate the complexities of their relationship.

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Mar 7th, 1:00 PM Mar 7th, 4:00 PM

The Effects of Testosterone and Decision Making Following a Competition

Dr. C.C. and Mabel L. Criss Library

Testosterone (T) has been identified as a hormone that influences aggressive behaviors across many species, including humans (for a review see Archer, 2006). This link between T and aggression has been studied in many situations, including those where social status is in jeopardy. Previous research has pointed to elevated T levels promoting aggressive behaviors aimed at gaining and maintaining social status, possibly via separate processes. The first process is short-term increases in T resulting from exposure to stimuli that signal an opportunity to gain social status. The second process is prolonged elevation of T levels resulting from prior experience in situations where social status was gained. Additionally, a limited amount of evidence has emerged showing that short-term increases in T may be inhibited in individuals concurrently experiencing elevated cortisol levels. The following study was designed to investigate the relationship between cortisol levels, short-term increases in T and aggressive behaviors aimed at gaining vs. maintaining, social status. Adult males were asked to compete on a pen and paper task, report their need for status, and their willingness to compete again after the initial competition. Saliva samples were obtained before and after the competition to measure changes in T and cortisol as a result of competing. These hormone changes were then compared to participants’ reports of their willingness to competing again in an attempt to further elucidate the complexities of their relationship.