Testosterone biases the amygdala toward social threat approach

Sci Adv. 2015 Jun 12;1(5):e1400074. doi: 10.1126/sciadv.1400074. eCollection 2015 Jun.


Testosterone enhances amygdala reactions to social threat, but it remains unclear whether this neuroendocrine mechanism is relevant for understanding its dominance-enhancing properties; namely, whether testosterone biases the human amygdala toward threat approach. This pharmacological functional magnetic-resonance imaging study shows that testosterone administration increases amygdala responses in healthy women during threat approach and decreases it during threat avoidance. These findings support and extend motivational salience models by offering a neuroendocrine mechanism of motivation-specific amygdala tuning.

Keywords: amygdala; approach-avoidance; motivational salience; social approach; testosterone.