Testosterone reduces functional connectivity during the ‘Reading the Mind in the Eyes’ Test. (2016)
“Our findings … reveal a neural mechanism by which testosterone can impair emotion-recognition ability…”
Peter A. Bos, a, b; Dennis Hofman, a; Erno J. Hermans, c, d; Estrella R. Montoya, a; Simon Baron-Cohen, e; Jack van Honk, a, b, f
Psychoneuroendocrinology, 68, 194-201.
Human social interaction is characterized by the employment of cognitive empathy: our capacity to infer motives, intentions,thoughts and feelings from the bodily cues of others.
The ability to identify emotional expressions of others shows sexual dimorphism: on average, women outperform men, a difference for which accumulating evidence suggests an underlying role for the steroid hormone testosterone. Indeed, a single administration of testosterone has been demonstrated to reduce emotion recognition abilities in typical young women.
“Using functional magnetic resonance imaging we found that a single administration of testosterone in 16 young women significantly altered connectivity of the left IFG with the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) and the supplementary motor area (SMA) during RMET performance, independent of 2D:4D ratio. This IFG-ACC-SMA network underlies the integration and selection of sensory information, and for action preparation during cognitive empathic behavior.
“Our findings thus reveal a neural mechanism by which testosterone can impair emotion-recognition ability….”
Access the full paper here: Testosterone reduces functional connectivity
a Utrecht University, Netherlands
b University of Cape Town, South Africa
c Radboud University Nijmegen, Netherlands
d Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre, Netherlands
e University of Cambridge, United Kingdom
f University of Cape Town, South Africa