Department of Psychology Speaker Series

Dr. Shawn Geniole is currently a visiting Banting Postdoctoral Research Fellow, funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, working on several collaborative projects at Nipissing University and the University of Vienna. His talk is titled Identfying the pathways through which and people for whom testosterone promotes aggression.

Here is a summary of his presentation:

Contrary to folk wisdom and animal models, testosterone’s effects on human aggression are weak and inconsistent, with little known about the neurobiological pathways through which, and people for whom, testosterone has its effects. I will summarize research from two studies showing that testosterone does not increase aggression indiscriminately, but rather exerts differential effects depending on personality and genotype. In Study 1, testosterone increased aggression in men with personality profiles conferring high dominance, independent self-construal, and low self-control. In Study 2, these conditional effects were replicated, and further enhanced among men with fewer (vs more) CAG repeats in exon 1 of the androgen receptor gene, a polymorphism associated with increased androgen receptor efficiency. The effects on aggression were rapid, occurring within 30 minutes of administration, and mediated by participants’ subjective feelings of reward (rather than anger) associated with aggression. Together, these studies provide novel evidence that testosterone may promote human aggression through its actions on the androgen receptor, and that these effects may be enhanced among men with certain personality profiles because testosterone more strongly upregulates the subjective pleasure these men derive from aggression.

The talk is scheduled for Tuesday, February 27 at 12 p.m. in room R309. Refreshments will be served and everyone is welcome.

Psychology DepartmentSeminar Series