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Horm Behav. 2002 Mar;41(2):195-202.

Implicit power motivation predicts men's testosterone changes and implicit learning in a contest situation.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, University of Potsdam, Potsdam, 14415, Germany.


This study tested the hypothesis that implicit power motivation moderates men's testosterone responses to victory or defeat in a contest situation. It also explored to what extent postvictory testosterone increases are associated with enhanced implicit learning of behavior instrumental for winning a contest. Salivary testosterone levels were assessed in 66 male adults several times before and after a contest whose outcome (winning or losing against a competitor on an implicit learning task) was varied experimentally. Among participants low in activity inhibition, a measure of impulse control, the power motive was a significant positive predictor of testosterone increases (15 min postcontest; r = 0.71, P = 0.01) and implicit learning (r = 0.68, P < 0.05) after a victory, whereas it was a significant negative predictor of implicit learning (r = -0.58, P = 0.01) but not of testosterone increases (r = -0.08, ns) after a defeat. Moreover, among participants low in activity inhibition testosterone increases were associated with enhanced implicit learning (r = 0.38, P < 0.05) and there was statistical evidence that in winners testosterone increases mediated the effect of power motivation on implicit learning. Participants high in activity inhibition did not display this pattern of results.

Copyright 2002 Elsevier Science (USA).

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