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Horm Behav. 2017 Jun;92:82-92. doi: 10.1016/j.yhbeh.2017.03.010. Epub 2017 May 24.

Performance during competition and competition outcome in relation to testosterone and cortisol among women.

Author information

1
Department of Psychology, The University of Chicago, USA; Institute for Mind and Biology, The University of Chicago, USA. Electronic address: andreahenry@uchicago.edu.
2
Department of Psychology, The University of Chicago, USA.
3
Department of Psychology, The University of Chicago, USA; Committee on Education, The University of Chicago, USA.
4
Institute for Mind and Biology, The University of Chicago, USA; Department of Comparative Human Development, The University of Chicago, USA.

Abstract

A contribution to a special issue on Hormones and Human Competition. This study investigated the relation between competition, testosterone (T), and cortisol (C) in women. One hundred and twenty female participants competed against a male confederate in a computerized laboratory task. The task was preprogrammed so that half the women won and half of the women lost the competition. T and C concentrations were measured in saliva samples collected at four time points before and after the competition. Accuracy and reaction time during the competition were recorded. T and C increased directly after the competition, though not significantly for C, and then decreased over time regardless of the competition outcome. Regression analyses demonstrated that baseline T was significantly and positively associated with competition accuracy, though only in individuals who were low in C. Individuals who were high in C showed no relation between T and accuracy. This relation was further qualified by competition outcome. Losers of the competition showed a significant positive relation between baseline T levels and competition accuracy, though only if they were low in C. No relation was found between T and accuracy in losers who were high in C. Winners of the competition showed no relation between T and accuracy, regardless of whether C levels were high or low. These results are in line with the dual-hormone hypothesis, whereby the effects of T on status-seeking behaviors are dependent on C levels for individuals whose status is threatened.

KEYWORDS:

Competition; Cortisol; Men; Motivation; Performance; Status; Testosterone; Women

PMID:
28428002
DOI:
10.1016/j.yhbeh.2017.03.010
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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