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Testosterone administration increases social discounting in healthy males


Wu, Yin; Liao, Jiajun; Zilioli, Samuele; Wu, Yan; Deng, Huihua; Li, Hong; Tobler, Philippe N (2019). Testosterone administration increases social discounting in healthy males. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 108:127-134.

Abstract

Although testosterone is thought to induce antisocial and aggressive behavior, research on social economic interactions has associated it with prosocial and affiliative behavior. Here, we investigated the effects of testosterone on social distance-dependent generosity in an economic discounting task where participants chose between selfish and generous alternatives. We administered testosterone gel or placebo to men in a double-blind, randomized design and measured how willing they were to share rewards with close and distant others. Across two studies (total n = 174), testosterone administration consistently increased social discounting, that is participants became more selfish, particularly with regard to distant others (vs. close others). This effect was not explained by testosterone-induced increases in social distance perception. Our findings provide causal evidence that-testosterone reduces generosity in human economic decision-making. Moreover, they suggest that the valuation and the perception of social distance are independently affected by testosterone.

Abstract

Although testosterone is thought to induce antisocial and aggressive behavior, research on social economic interactions has associated it with prosocial and affiliative behavior. Here, we investigated the effects of testosterone on social distance-dependent generosity in an economic discounting task where participants chose between selfish and generous alternatives. We administered testosterone gel or placebo to men in a double-blind, randomized design and measured how willing they were to share rewards with close and distant others. Across two studies (total n = 174), testosterone administration consistently increased social discounting, that is participants became more selfish, particularly with regard to distant others (vs. close others). This effect was not explained by testosterone-induced increases in social distance perception. Our findings provide causal evidence that-testosterone reduces generosity in human economic decision-making. Moreover, they suggest that the valuation and the perception of social distance are independently affected by testosterone.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:03 Faculty of Economics > Department of Economics
Dewey Decimal Classification:330 Economics
Scopus Subject Areas:Health Sciences > Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
Life Sciences > Endocrinology
Life Sciences > Endocrine and Autonomic Systems
Health Sciences > Psychiatry and Mental Health
Life Sciences > Biological Psychiatry
Uncontrolled Keywords:Biological psychiatry, endocrinology, diabetes and metabolism, endocrinology, endocrine and autonomic systems, psychiatry and mental health, testosterone, aggression, prosocial preferences, social discounting, generosity
Language:English
Date:October 2019
Deposited On:27 Sep 2019 14:23
Last Modified:01 Nov 2020 01:00
Publisher:Elsevier
ISSN:0306-4530
OA Status:Green
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.psyneuen.2019.06.013

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Licence: Creative Commons: Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)