Winning, losing, mood, and testosterone

Horm Behav. 1992 Dec;26(4):486-504. doi: 10.1016/0018-506x(92)90016-o.


In two experiments, male college students either won or lost $5 on a task controlled entirely by chance. In both studies, winners reported a more positive mood change than did losers and, in Experiment 2, winners reported a more positive mood change than a neutral group that did not win or lose money. After the task was completed, winners exhibited significantly higher testosterone levels than losers. Levels of cortisol, a hormone associated with stress and arousal, did not differ among the groups, suggesting that a hormone-behavior response pattern for winning and losing is specific to testosterone. These data suggest that winning can alter testosterone levels in men and that mood may mediate such changes.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Achievement*
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Affect*
  • Humans
  • Hydrocortisone / isolation & purification
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Saliva
  • Testosterone / blood*


  • Testosterone
  • Hydrocortisone