Endogenous plasma testosterone levels and commission errors in women: A preliminary report

James M. Bjork, F. Gerard Moeller, Donald M. Dougherty, Alan C. Swann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations

Abstract

A correlation between elevated testosterone and aggressive behavior has been demonstrated in animals and to a lesser degree in humans, primarily in the context of dominance. Some aggression, namely non-premeditated aggression, is characterized by impaired impulse control. Real-world aggressive histories and self-reported impulsivity have correlated with commission errors (failures to withhold responses to nontarget stimuli) in versions of the continuous performance test (CPT). To begin exploring whether testosterone may play a role in aggression due more to a direct relationship with impaired impulse control, we related plasma total testosterone concentrations of 27 psychiatrically healthy women to commission errors in two variants of the CPT - with and without interstimulus distracters. Controlling for age and IQ, testosterone did not relate to rates of correct detections in either task, but correlated positively with commission errors in the distracter CPT variant. In light of the fact previous studies find commission errors on the CPT are associated with impulsivity, the results of this study support a positive relationship between testosterone and impulsivity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)217-221
Number of pages5
JournalPhysiology and Behavior
Volume73
Issue number1-2
DOIs
StatePublished - 2001
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Aggression
  • Attention
  • Cognitive functioning
  • Continuous performance test
  • Impulsivity
  • Memory
  • Testosterone

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience

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