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:2/8/2016)... ... February 08, 2016 , ... ... executive networking and relationship-marketing firm, announced today that nominations will be accepted ... Executive® (ISE®) West Awards. , Awards include the Information Security Executive® ...
(Date:2/8/2016)... ... 2016 , ... GrassrootsHealth published data from its D*action public ... in the GrassrootsHealth cohort with substantially higher vitamin D levels than a cohort ... states Carole Baggerly, Director of GrassrootsHealth, “the safety and benefits of vitamin ...
(Date:2/8/2016)... ... , ... The schedule is now online for the largest and ... is being held May 25-29 at the Loews Chicago O’Hare Hotel, continues to give ... of chronic illness in children. , Very recent articles have cited 1 child in ...
(Date:2/7/2016)... AZ (PRWEB) , ... February 07, 2016 , ... ... Neck and Facial Plastics, has added Kybella® to his medical and surgical expertise. ... a newly approved FDA injectable medication used as a non-surgical alternative for reduction ...
(Date:2/6/2016)... ... February 06, 2016 , ... ... eating disorder treatment helps to reduce the frequency and level of relapse. ... Phase: Re-Establishing Healthy Identity and Purpose,” will explore the critical tasks of the ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:2/8/2016)... 2016 In a historic vote among its members this weekend, ... medical cannabis cultivation facility and dispensary on tribal land near ... as a provider for patients in the state,s Medical Cannabis Program. ... a provider for patients in the state,s Medical Cannabis Program. ... the project and pursue designation from the State of New ...
(Date:2/8/2016)... 2016 http://www.researchandmarkets.com/research/x6mkjm/knee ) has ... Devices Market by Product Type (Primary (Cemented & ... Canada, Eu-5, Japan, Bric, Turkey, Indonesia - Global ... their offering. --> http://www.researchandmarkets.com/research/x6mkjm/knee ) ... Reconstruction Devices Market by Product Type (Primary (Cemented ...
(Date:2/8/2016)... ARBOR, Mich. , Feb. 8, 2016  The ... Arbor announced today that, as part of ... become one of the first hospitals in the U.S. ... Karin Muraszko , M.D., U-M,s chair of neurosurgery. ... chair of neurosurgery. --> The BrightMatter ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: