Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
×
Home

In utero testosterone exposure influences physiological responses to dyadic interactions in neurotypical adults

  • Anna Truzzi (a1), Vincenzo Paolo Senese (a2), Peipei Setoh (a3), Cristian Ripoli (a4) and Gianluca Esposito (a1) (a3)...
Abstract
Objective

We investigated how different levels of prenatal exposure to testosterone influence physiological reactions to dyadic interactions, hypothesising that higher levels of prenatal testosterone are linked to greater physiological responses.

Method

Autonomic nervous system responses to dyadic interactions focussed on social or physical norms were measured. Physiological assessment of excitability (heart rate, facial temperature) and a behavioural assessment (Likert items judgements) were run on 25 neurotypical participants who had distinct testosterone exposure levels in utero. In utero exposure to testosterone was assessed measuring 2D : 4D (ratio between the lengths of the index and the ring fingers).

Results

Higher testosterone exposure participants showed greater physiological arousal: a greater heart rate decrease, independent from scenario type (p<0.05), and opposite facial temperature changes in response to social (increase) (vs.) physical scenarios (decrease) were found (Left-cheek: p<0.05; Right-cheek: p<0.05).

Conclusion

These findings suggest a long-term influence of prenatal environment on adults’ physiological responses during social situations.

Copyright
Corresponding author
Department of Psychology and Cognitive Science, University of Trento, Corso Bettini, 31 I-38068 Rovereto (TN)-Italy. Tel: +39 0464 80 8643; Fax: +39 0464 80 8602; E-mail: gianluca.esposito@unitn.it
References
Hide All
1. Auyeung, B, Lombardo, MV, Baron-Cohen, S. Prenatal and postnatal hormone effects on the human brain and cognition. Pflügers Archiv 2013;465:557571.
2. Hermans, EJ, Putman, P, van Honk, J. Testosterone administration reduces empathetic behavior: a facial mimicry study. Psychoneuroendocrinolo 2006;31:859866.
3. Batrinos, ML. Testosterone and aggressive behavior in man. Int J Endocrinol Metab 2012;10:563568.
4. Zheng, Z, Chon, MJ. Developmental basis of sexually dimorphic digit ratios. PNAS 2011;208:1628916294.
5. Chapman, E, Baron-Cohen, S, Auyeung, B. Fetal testosterone and empathy: evidence from the Empathy Quotient (EQ) and the ‘Reading the Mind in the Eyes’ test. Soc Neurosci 2006;1:135248.
6. Eisenegger, C, Naef, M, Snozzi, R, Heinrichs, M, Fher, E. New evidence on testosterone and cooperation. Nature 2010;463:356359.
7. Joyce, CW, Kelly, JC, Chan, JC et al. Second to forth digit ratio confirms aggressive tendencies in patients with boxers fractures. Injury 2013;44:16361639.
8. Knickmeyer, R, Baron-Cohen, S, Raggatt, P, Taylor, K, Hackett, G. Fetal testosterone and empathy. Horm Behav 2006;46:282292.
9. Tamiya, R, Lee, SY, Ohtake, F. Second to fourth digit ratio and the sporting success of sumo wrestlers. Evol Hum Behav 2012;33:130136.
10. Van Honk, J, Schutter, DJ, Bos, PA, Kruijt, A, Lentjes, EG, Baron-Cohen, S. Testosterone administration impairs cognitive empathy in women depending on second-to-fourth digit ratio. PNAS 2011;108:34483452.
11. Auyeung, B, Baron-Cohen, S, Chapman, E, Knickmeyer, R, Taylor, K, Hackett, G. Foetal testosterone and the child systemizing quotient. Eur J Endocrinol 2006;155:123130.
12. Bradley, MM. Natural selective attention: orienting and emotion. Psychophysiology 2009;46:111.
13. Berntson, GG, Bigger, JT, Eckberg, DL et al. Heart rate variability: origins, methods and interpretative caveats. Psychophysiology 1997;34:623648.
14. Appelhans, BM, Luecken, LJ. Heart rate variability as an index of regulated emotional responding. Rev Gen Psychol 2006;10:229240.
15. Salazar-López, E, Domínguez, E, Juárez-Ramon, V et al. The mental and subjective skin: emotion, empathy, feelings and thermography. Conscious Cogn 2015;34:149162.
16. Rimm-Kaufman, SE, Kagan, J. The psychological significance of changes in skin temperature. Motiv Emotion 1996;20:6378.
17. Fox, J. Applied regression analysis, linear models, and related methods. Thousand Oaks, CA, USA: Sage Publications, 1997.
18. Willis, ML, Dodd, HF, Palermo, R. The relationship between anxiety and the social judgements of approachability and thrustworthiness. PLoS One 2013;8:e76825.
19. Willis, ML, Windsor, NA, Lawson, DL, Ridley, NJ. Situational context and perceived threat modulate approachability judgements to emotional faces. PLoS One 2015;10:e0131472.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Acta Neuropsychiatrica
  • ISSN: 0924-2708
  • EISSN: 1601-5215
  • URL: /core/journals/acta-neuropsychiatrica
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Keywords

Type Description Title
WORD
Supplementary materials

Truzzi supplementary material
Truzzi supplementary material 1

 Word (39 KB)
39 KB

Metrics

Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed