We congratulate Lisa for receiving the Bank Austria Award for her outstanding work on her thesis "How we learn to trust others - the biopsychology of repeated trust interactions"
Together with the researchers from Nipissing University and University of Oregon, we examined the effects of exogenous testosterone on cognitive reflection test across three samples.
New Publication in Psychoneuroendocrinology: The effects of testosterone in stress depend on the social context
The effects of testosterone on the physiological response to social and somatic stressors
Higher testosterone levels in males have previously been linked to decreased stress reactivity, but in other cases, testosterone has been reported to increase the stress response. We addressed these inconsistencies in a placebo-controlled single-dose testosterone administration study, in which 120 male participants were randomly assigned to undergo a cold-pressor test (CPT, a non-social somatic stressor), a socially evaluated cold-pressor test (SECPT, a social-somatic stressor), or a lukewarm water test (LWT, a non-stressful control condition). Throughout the experiment, blood pressure and interbeat intervals were measured continuously, and saliva samples for hormonal analyses were taken repeatedly at predefined time points. When comparing the groups treated with placebo, the SECPT elicited a larger increase in the systolic blood pressure than CPT, in agreement with previous studies. However, testosterone administration altered this pattern. Compared to placebo, testosterone increased systolic blood pressure during the CPT, whereas the opposite effect was found during the SECPT. Cortisol reactivity was not affected by testosterone administration. The CAG repeat polymorphism of the androgen receptor gene was unrelated to the effects of testosterone on the stress response, but it was correlated with blood pressure across the whole sample. Our findings demonstrate that testosterone’s effects on the stress response are dependent on the social context. Testosterone’s ability to flexibly influence the response to stressors may be an important mechanism through which the hormone promotes adaptive behavior. Our results are also in line with research showing that testosterone decreases social anxiety and suggest it may help to modulate the effects of stress in socially challenging situations.
Kutlikova, H. H., Durdiaková, J. B., Wagner, B., Vlček, M., Eisenegger, C., Lamm, C., & Riečanský, I. (2020). The effects of testosterone on the physiological response to social and somatic stressors. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 117, 104693. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.psyneuen.2020.104693
Full text now available here: https://authors.elsevier.com/c/1b2zu15hUdQbT8
New paper published in Psychoneuroendocrinology on how testosterone administration increases status-seeking motivation in men with unstable low social status.
Testosterone is associated with status-seeking behaviors such as competition, which may depend on whether one wins or loses status, but also on the stability of one’s status. We examined (1) to what extent testosterone administration affects competition behavior in repeated social contests in men with high or low rank, and (2), whether this relationship is moderated by hierarchy stability, as predicted by the status instability hypothesis. Using a real effort-based design in healthy male participants (N = 173 males), we first found that testosterone (vs. placebo) increased motivation to compete for status, but only in individuals with an unstable low status. A second part of the experiment, tailored to directly compare stable with unstable hierarchies, indicated that exogenous testosterone again increased competitive motivation in individuals with a low unstable status, but decreased competition behavior in men with low stable status. Additionally, exogenous testosterone increased motivation in those with a stable high status. Further analysis suggested that these effects were moderated by individuals’ trait dominance, and genetic differences assessed by the androgen receptor (CAG-repeat) and dopamine transporter (DAT1) polymorphisms. Our study provides evidence that testosterone specifically boosts status-related motivation when there is an opportunity to improve one’s social status. The findings contribute to our understanding of testosterone’s causal role in status-seeking motivation in competition behavior, and indicate that testosterone adaptively increases our drive for high status in a context-dependent manner. We discuss potential neurobiological pathways through which testosterone may attain these effects on behavior.
Losecaat Vermeer, A.B., Krol, I., Gausterer, C., Wagner, B., Eisenegger, C., & Lamm, C. (2020). Exogenous testosterone increases status-seeking motivation in men with unstable low social status. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 113, 104552. doi: 10.1016/j.psyneuen.2019.104552 (pdf)
Lisa, together with Jack van Honk, Michael Naef and other colleagues showed that the basolateral amygdala is indeed useful when learning to trust other people.
Rosenberger, L.A., Pfabigan, D., Lehner, B., Keckeis, K., Seidel, E.-M., Eisenegger, C., & Lamm, C. (2019). Fairness norm violations in anti-social psychopathic offenders in a repeated trust game. Translational Psychiatry, in press.
The full text (Open Access) will be available soon!
Dear friends and colleagues,
We are proud to announce a symposium in honour of Christoph Eisenegger, titled
"THE NEUROBIOLOGICAL BASIS OF HUMAN SOCIAL BEHAVIOR".
The symposium will take place on MARCH 25TH 2020 at the University of Vienna from 9 am and will finish with an evening reception.
The aim of the symposium is to celebrate the work and achievements of the late Christoph Eisenegger, and the Neuropsychopharmacology & Biopsychology Unit. The symposium will showcase the fruition of his work with the junior scientists of his lab, and in a variety of projects with his national and international collaborators.
We will be very happy to welcome you to Vienna, and to commemorate this great scientist and person!
Jean-Claude Dreher (Cognitive Neuroscience Center, FR): Influence of testosterone on reward processing and retaliation-related brain activity
Shawn Geniole (Nipissing University, CA; University of Vienna, AT): Testosterone reduces the threat premium in competitive resource divisions
Jack van Honk (Utrecht University, NL, University of Cape Town, SA):The role of the human basolateral amygdala in social decision-making
Michael Naef (University of London, GB): TBA
Boris Quednow (University of Zurich, CH): Acute and chronic drug effects on social decision-making
Giorgia Silani (University of Vienna, AT): Wanting and liking of social and non-social rewards: The role of dopamine and opioids
Bettina Studer (St Mauritius Therapieklinik Meerbusch; Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf, DE): TBA
Yin Wu (Nanjing University, CN): Single dose testosterone administration increases social discounting in healthy males
More information, including the preliminary program and how to register (participation will be free of charge), will be announced on https://nbu2020.univie.ac.at.