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The influence of income and testosterone on the validity of facial width-to-height ratio as a biomarker for dominance


Noser, Emilou; Schoch-Ruppen, Jessica; Ehlert, Ulrike (2018). The influence of income and testosterone on the validity of facial width-to-height ratio as a biomarker for dominance. PLoS ONE, 13(11):e0207333.

Abstract

Research has indicated that men's facial width-to-height ratio (fWHR) is part of an evolved system of social dominance, aggression, and power. fWHR has been linked to antisocial behavior, measured by self-reported aggression, but recent studies have failed to replicate this finding. To overcome these inconsistencies, influencing factors such as social status have to be taken into account in order to explain the relationship between fWHR and aggression. In particular, income has been shown to be an important influencing factor in this relationship. Furthermore, previous findings suggested that testosterone is linked to fWHR and might be associated with fWHR and dominance-related outcomes. Therefore, this study examined the influence of both social status defined by income and salivary testosterone on the association between fWHR and self-reported dominance-related behavioral traits. In particular, links between fWHR and self-report measures of aggression and the Dark Triad (encompassing psychopathy, Machiavellianism, and narcissism) were investigated in N = 109 men aged 40 to 75 years. fWHR was significantly associated with physical aggression and two of the Dark Triad traits (psychopathy and Machiavellianism) in men reporting low income. The relationship between fWHR and narcissism was moderated by testosterone. The findings highlight the importance of considering social status and neuroendocrine parameters such as testosterone when examining associations between fWHR and complex psychological traits and behaviors.

Abstract

Research has indicated that men's facial width-to-height ratio (fWHR) is part of an evolved system of social dominance, aggression, and power. fWHR has been linked to antisocial behavior, measured by self-reported aggression, but recent studies have failed to replicate this finding. To overcome these inconsistencies, influencing factors such as social status have to be taken into account in order to explain the relationship between fWHR and aggression. In particular, income has been shown to be an important influencing factor in this relationship. Furthermore, previous findings suggested that testosterone is linked to fWHR and might be associated with fWHR and dominance-related outcomes. Therefore, this study examined the influence of both social status defined by income and salivary testosterone on the association between fWHR and self-reported dominance-related behavioral traits. In particular, links between fWHR and self-report measures of aggression and the Dark Triad (encompassing psychopathy, Machiavellianism, and narcissism) were investigated in N = 109 men aged 40 to 75 years. fWHR was significantly associated with physical aggression and two of the Dark Triad traits (psychopathy and Machiavellianism) in men reporting low income. The relationship between fWHR and narcissism was moderated by testosterone. The findings highlight the importance of considering social status and neuroendocrine parameters such as testosterone when examining associations between fWHR and complex psychological traits and behaviors.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Psychology
08 Research Priority Programs > Dynamics of Healthy Aging
Dewey Decimal Classification:150 Psychology
Uncontrolled Keywords:DoktoratPsych Erstautor
Language:English
Date:2018
Deposited On:20 Nov 2018 08:58
Last Modified:01 Dec 2018 01:18
Publisher:Public Library of Science (PLoS)
ISSN:1932-6203
OA Status:Gold
Free access at:PubMed ID. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0207333
PubMed ID:30412629

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