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Single dose testosterone administration impairs cognitive reflection in men

Nave, Gideon and Nadler, Amos and Zava, David and Camerer, Colin (2017) Single dose testosterone administration impairs cognitive reflection in men. Psychological Science . ISSN 0956-7976 . (Submitted)

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The sex steroid testosterone regulates reproductive behaviors such as intra-male fighting and mating in non-humans. Correlational studies have linked testosterone with aggression and disorders associated with poor impulse control, but the neuropsychological processes at work are poorly understood. Building on a dual-process framework, we propose a mechanism underlying testosterone’s behavioral effects in humans: reducing cognitive reflection. In the largest behavioral testosterone administration study to date, 243 men received either testosterone or placebo and took the Cognitive Reflection Test (CRT), that estimated their capacity to override incorrect intuitive judgments with deliberate correct responses. Testosterone administration reduced CRT scores. The effect was robust to controlling for age, mood, math skills, treatment expectancy and 14 other hormones, and held for each of the CRT questions in isolation. Our findings suggest a mechanism underlying testosterone’s diverse effects on humans’ judgments and decision-making, and provide novel, clear and testable predictions.

Item Type:Article
Nave, Gideon0000-0001-6251-5630
Nadler, Amos0000-0001-5069-5742
Camerer, Colin0000-0003-4049-1871
Additional Information:We thank the funding of the McArthur foundation, Ivey Business School, IFREE, Russell Sage Foundation, USC, INSEAD, and Stockholm SHH. Special thanks to Jorge Barraza, Austin Henderson, and Garrett Thoelen for research assistance, David Kimball for assay testing, and Justine Carré and James Roney for their insightful comments on earlier versions of the manuscript.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Ivey Business SchoolUNSPECIFIED
International Foundation for Research in Experimental Economics (IFREE)UNSPECIFIED
Russell Sage FoundationUNSPECIFIED
University of Southern CaliforniaUNSPECIFIED
Institut Européen d'Administration des Affaires (INSEAD)UNSPECIFIED
Subject Keywords:Testosterone; Single Administration; Cognitive Reflection; Dual Process; Impulse Control; Neuroeconomics
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20170428-091020875
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Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:77049
Deposited By: Melissa Ray
Deposited On:28 Apr 2017 17:12
Last Modified:28 Apr 2017 17:19

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