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Psychoneuroendocrinology. 2016 Feb;64:136-42. doi: 10.1016/j.psyneuen.2015.11.016. Epub 2015 Nov 24.

Exogenous testosterone increases men's perceptions of their own physical dominance.

Author information

  • 1Department of Psychology, Oakland University, 2200 N. Squirrel Road, Rochester, MI 48309, USA. Electronic address: welling@oakland.edu.
  • 2Department of Psychology, Nipissing University, 100 College Drive, Box 5002, North Bay, ON P1B 8L7, Canada. Electronic address: benm@nipissingu.ca.
  • 3Department of Psychology, Laurentian University, 935 Ramsey Lake Road, Sudbury, ON P3E 2C6, Canada. Electronic address: bbird@laurentian.ca.
  • 4Physical and Health Education, Nipissing University, 100 College Drive, Box 5002, North Bay, ON P1B 8L7, Canada. Electronic address: steveh@nipissingu.ca.
  • 5Department of Psychology, Nipissing University, 100 College Drive, Box 5002, North Bay, ON P1B 8L7, Canada. Electronic address: justinca@nipissingu.ca.

Abstract

Men's testosterone is associated with several constructs that are linked to dominance rank, such as risk-taking, mating success, and aggression. However, no study has directly tested the relationship between men's self-perceived dominance and testosterone using an experimental design. We employed a within-subjects, double-blind, placebo-controlled paradigm to assess whether testosterone influences men's self-perceived dominance. Exogenous testosterone or a placebo was administered to healthy adult men and self-perceptions of physical dominance were subsequently assessed by having participants select what they believed to be their true face from an array of images digitally manipulated in masculinity. Men picked a more masculine version of their own face after testosterone versus placebo--an effect that was particularly pronounced among men with relatively low baseline testosterone. These findings indicate that a single administration of testosterone can rapidly modulate men's perceptions of their own physical dominance, which may explain links between testosterone and dominance-related behaviors.

KEYWORDS:

Dominance; Face perception; Individual differences; Neuroendocrinology; Social perception; Testosterone

PMID:
26671006
DOI:
10.1016/j.psyneuen.2015.11.016
[PubMed - in process]
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