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Testosterone levels in healthy men are related to amygdala reactivity and memory performance


Ackermann, Sandra; Spalek, Klara; Rasch, Björn; Gschwind, Leo; Coynel, David; Fastenrath, Matthias; Papassotiropoulos, Andreas; de Quervain, Dominique J-F (2012). Testosterone levels in healthy men are related to amygdala reactivity and memory performance. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 37(9):1417-1424.

Abstract

Testosterone is a steroid hormone thought to influence both emotional and cognitive functions. It is unknown, however, if testosterone also affects the interaction between these two domains, such as the emotional arousal-induced enhancement of memory. Healthy subjects (N=234) encoded pictures taken from the International Affective Picture System (IAPS) during functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and underwent a free recall test 10 min after memory encoding. We show that higher endogenous testosterone levels at encoding were associated with higher arousal ratings of neutral pictures in men. fMRI analysis revealed that higher testosterone levels were related to increased brain activation in the amygdala during encoding of neutral pictures. Moreover, endogenous testosterone levels were positively correlated with the number of freely recalled neutral pictures. No such relations were found in women. These findings point to a male-specific role for testosterone in enhancing memory by increasing the biological salience of incoming information.

Abstract

Testosterone is a steroid hormone thought to influence both emotional and cognitive functions. It is unknown, however, if testosterone also affects the interaction between these two domains, such as the emotional arousal-induced enhancement of memory. Healthy subjects (N=234) encoded pictures taken from the International Affective Picture System (IAPS) during functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and underwent a free recall test 10 min after memory encoding. We show that higher endogenous testosterone levels at encoding were associated with higher arousal ratings of neutral pictures in men. fMRI analysis revealed that higher testosterone levels were related to increased brain activation in the amygdala during encoding of neutral pictures. Moreover, endogenous testosterone levels were positively correlated with the number of freely recalled neutral pictures. No such relations were found in women. These findings point to a male-specific role for testosterone in enhancing memory by increasing the biological salience of incoming information.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Psychology
Dewey Decimal Classification:150 Psychology
Language:English
Date:2012
Deposited On:27 Feb 2014 10:23
Last Modified:17 Feb 2018 01:50
Publisher:Elsevier
ISSN:0306-4530
OA Status:Closed
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.psyneuen.2012.01.008

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