Navigation Links
Extra testosterone reduces your empathy
Date:2/9/2011

A new study from Utrecht and Cambridge Universities has for the first time found that an administration of testosterone under the tongue in volunteers negatively affects a person's ability to 'mind read', an indication of empathy. The findings are published this week in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

In addition, the effects of testosterone administration are predicted by a fetal marker of prenatal testosterone, the 2D:4D ratio. The study has important implications for the androgen theory of autism (testosterone is an androgen) and confirms earlier rodent research that shows that testosterone in early brain development organizes the activation of the very hormone in later life.

Professor Jack van Honk at the University of Utrecht and Professor Simon Baron-Cohen at the University of Cambridge designed the study that was conducted in Utrecht. They used the 'Reading the Mind in the Eyes' task as the test of mind reading, which tests how well someone can infer what a person is thinking or feeling from photographs of facial expressions from around the eyes.

Mind reading is one aspect of empathy, a skill that shows significant sex differences in favour of females. They tested 16 young women from the general population, since women on average have lower levels of testosterone than men. The decision to test just females was to maximize the possibility of seeing a reduction in their levels of empathy.

The researchers not only found that administration of testosterone leads to a significant reduction in mind reading, but that this effect is powerfully predicted by the 2D:4D digit ratio, a marker of prenatal testosterone. Those people with the most masculinized 2D:4D ratios showed the most pronounced reduction in the ability to mind read.

Jack van Honk said: "We are excited by this finding because it suggests testosterone levels prenatally prime later testosterone effects on the mind."

Simon Baron-Cohen commented: "This study contributes to our knowledge of how small hormonal differences can have far-reaching effects on empathy."

The new study has several important implications. First, that current levels of testosterone directly affect the ability to read someone else's mind. This may help explain why on average women perform better on such tests than men, since men on average produce more testosterone than women.

Second, that the digit ratio (2D:4D), a marker of fetal testosterone, predicts the extent to which later testosterone has this effect. This suggests testosterone levels in the womb have an 'organizing' or long-range effect on later brain function. Finally, given that people with autism have difficulties in mind reading, and that autism affects males more often than females, the study provides further support for the androgen theory of autism.


'/>"/>

Contact: Genevieve Maul
Genevieve.maul@admin.cam.ac.uk
44-012-237-65542
University of Cambridge
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. An extra 5 years of life an unexpected benefit of osteoporosis treatment
2. Researchers develop successful method for extracting and archiving patient radiation dose info
3. Will extra protein and exercise help dialysis patients? U of I profs get $2.1 million to find out
4. Cashew seed extract an effective anti-diabetic
5. Getting extra sleep improves the athletic performance of collegiate football players
6. Moms Extra Pregnancy Pounds May Raise Childs Heart Risks
7. Human Extracellular Matrix Significantly Improves Device Biocompatibility
8. Abbey Color Inc. and Mexicana de Extractos International, S.A. de C.V. Announce Joint Venture Abbymex
9. Tahitian Noni Extra Sales Exceed Expectations
10. Sunwin International & WILD Flavors Receive GRAS Letters of No Objection from FDA Validating Safety of Multiple Sunwin Stevia Extracts
11. Tahitian Noni Extra Released With 16 Different Iridoids
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:5/24/2017)... ... May 24, 2017 , ... Technique, technique, technique – with a ... lifting weights for strength training and exercise or simply lifting heavy objects, advises Dr. ... position is everything,” Dr. Chang says. “Improper technique in lifting anything heavy or an ...
(Date:5/23/2017)... New York City (PRWEB) , ... May 23, ... ... Record (EHR), Population Health and Clinical Integration company, announced today that its ... Patient-Centered Medical Home (PCMH) 2017 Prevalidation. NCQA recently introduced PCMH 2017 standards ...
(Date:5/23/2017)... ... May 23, 2017 , ... Allegheny Health Network and the ... Center for Women’s Behavioral Health at West Penn Hospital , a unique facility ... suffering from pregnancy-related depression. Construction of the Center is underway with a scheduled ...
(Date:5/23/2017)... ... 2017 , ... Cambridge, MA, May 23, 2017—Total costs per ... a Workers Compensation Research Institute (WCRI) study, a contrast from the increases of ... Benchmarks, 17th Edition looks at indemnity and medical payments for workers’ compensation ...
(Date:5/23/2017)... ... May 23, 2017 , ... i2i ... 2017 Best in KLAS category winner, has named Daniel P. Bullington as chief ... enhance its technology platform and product offerings,” says Justin Neece, president. “Daniel is ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:5/18/2017)... 18, 2017  Two Bayer U.S. Pharmaceutical leaders received ... its recent 28 th Woman of the ... showcases HBA,s longstanding mission of furthering the advancement and ... Cindy Powell-Steffen , senior director of brand ... and Libby Howe , a regional business manager ...
(Date:5/15/2017)... Enterin Inc., a privately-held CNS pharmaceutical company based ... to treat Parkinson,s disease (PD), has enrolled the first patient ... randomized, controlled, multicenter study involving patients with PD and taking ... over a 9-to-12-month period. The first stage is open label ... Participating sites include Denver , ...
(Date:5/10/2017)... May 10, 2017 Hologic, Inc. (Nasdaq: ... for the fiscal second quarter ended April 1, 2017 ... $1.84 increased 666.7% compared to the prior year period ... in a significant gain, while non-GAAP diluted EPS of ... or 3.8% in constant currency terms.  Excluding the effects ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: