Original article:

Testosterone fluctuations in young men: The difference between interacting with like and not-like others

Evolutionary Psychology 8(2): 173-188 M. Catherine DeSoto, Department of Psychology, University of Northern Iowa, Cedar Falls, Iowa, USA, cathy.desoto@uni.eduRobert T. Hitlan, Department of Psychology, University of Northern Iowa, Cedar Falls, Iowa, USARory-Sean S. Deol, Department of Psychology, University of Northern Iowa, Cedar Falls, Iowa, USADerrick McAdams, Department of Psychology, University of Northern Iowa, Cedar Falls, Iowa, USA

Abstract

The current study investigated young men’s testosterone level changes as a result of interacting with other men. Male participants (n = 84) were led to believe that a group they would be interacting with was either similar to them or not similar. The interaction was then one of two types: the other group members were inclusive, or the others excluded the participant during the group interaction. Participants provided saliva samples before and after the interaction. Results suggest that interacting with highly similar men increases circulating testosterone whereas interacting with highly dissimilar men actually lowers testosterone. The nature of the interaction was less important than similarity. Considering that testosterone surges may relate to attempts to gain status within one’s group, the results are interpreted as consistent with viewing hormonal changes as a mechanism to alter current behavioral propensities in ways that are likely to be most adaptive. Exploratory analyses suggest a methodologically interesting suppressor effect of the self-report items in predicting testosterone changes.

Keywords

testosterone, in-groups, hormones, male behavior, challenge hypothesis

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Evolutionary Psychology - An open access peer-reviewed journal - ISSN 1474-7049 © Ian Pitchford and Robert M. Young; individual articles © the author(s)
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