The role of testosterone in social interaction

Trends Cogn Sci. 2011 Jun;15(6):263-71. doi: 10.1016/j.tics.2011.04.008. Epub 2011 May 25.


Although animal researchers established the role of testosterone as a 'social hormone' decades ago, the investigation of its causal influence on human social behaviors has only recently begun. Here, we review and discuss recent studies showing the causal effects of testosterone on social interactions in animals and humans, and outline the basic neurobiological mechanisms that might underlie these effects. Based on these recent findings, we argue that the role of testosterone in human social behavior might be best understood in terms of the search for, and maintenance of, social status.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain / anatomy & histology*
  • Brain / metabolism*
  • Brain Mapping
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations*
  • Motivation
  • Reward
  • Testosterone / metabolism*


  • Testosterone