Professor Buskens from Utrecht University will give a colloquium talk on February 18 (16:00-17:00, Medical Faculty building, room MF-G513). Please join if you can!
Trust, Social Embeddedness, and Testosterone
Animal research has established that effects of hormones on social behaviour depend on characteristics of both individual and environment. There is limited insight on this interdependence from research on humans. Specifically, no prior testosterone experiments in humans scrutinized the interdependency of the hormone with the social environment. Nonetheless, recent testosterone administration studies in humans repeatedly show that a proxy for individuals’ prenatal testosterone-to-estradiol ratio, second-to-fourth digit-ratio (2D:4D ratio), influences effects of testosterone administration on human social behaviour. Here, we systematically vary the characteristics of the social environment, and we show that, depending on prenatal sex hormone priming, testosterone administration in women moderates the effect of the social environment on trust. We use the economic trust game and compare one-shot games modelling trust problems in relations between strangers with repeated games modelling trust problems in ongoing relations between partners. As expected, subjects are more trustful in repeated than in one-shot games. In subjects prenatally relatively highly primed by testosterone, however, this effect disappears after testosterone administration. We argue that impairments in cognitive empathy may reduce the repeated game effect on trust after testosterone administration in subjects with relatively high prenatal testosterone exposure.
More on Professor Buskens and his work here.