A single administration of testosterone induces cardiac accelerative responses to angry faces in healthy young women

Behav Neurosci. 2001 Feb;115(1):238-42. doi: 10.1037/0735-7044.115.1.238.


Recently, it was demonstrated how individuals with high levels of testosterone selectively attend toward angry faces. It was argued that this suggests that high levels of testosterone are associated with an aggressive, dominating personality style. In this study, the authors used a double-blind, placebo-controlled design to examine whether exogenous testosterone would induce cardiac acceleration in response to angry faces. Participants (healthy young women) were exposed to neutral, happy, or angry faces. Administration of a single dosage of testosterone (0.5 mg) induced an accelerative cardiac response to angry faces. It is argued that this effect is due to the encouragement of dominance behavior and the inclination toward aggression. Possible mechanisms behind testosterone-driven changes in behavior are discussed with relevance to steroid-responsive networks in the limbic system that drive and control motivational and physiological aspects of social behavior.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anger*
  • Drug Administration Schedule
  • Facial Expression*
  • Female
  • Health Status*
  • Heart Rate / drug effects*
  • Humans
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Testosterone / administration & dosage
  • Testosterone / pharmacology*
  • Visual Perception / drug effects*


  • Testosterone