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Horm Behav. 2005 Feb;47(2):205-11. Epub 2004 Dec 19.

Testosterone, cognition, and social status.

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Department of Psychology, The University of Texas at Austin, 1 University Station, A8000, Austin, TX 78712, USA.


What leads some people to perform better than others on certain cognitive tasks? One explanation involves individual differences in testosterone. Testosterone is associated with higher performance on spatial tests, and lower performance on verbal tests. However, a large literature suggests that testosterone only predicts behavior when status is in jeopardy. In the present study, we manipulated status before administering a spatial and verbal test. In a high-status position, high-testosterone individuals performed well on both tests, and blood pressure dropped. In a low-status position, high-testosterone individuals performed relatively poorly on both tests, and blood pressure did not change. These data suggest that differences in cognitive performance stem from an interaction between testosterone and the social situation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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