Sunday, March 01, 2009

Cortisol again (not rainbow trout)

Testosterone, cortisol, dominance, and submission: Biologically prepared motivation, no psychological mechanisms involved

Jack van Honk a1, Dennis J. L. G. Schutter a1, Erno J. Hermans a1 and Peter Putman a1a1 Helmholtz Research Institute, Affective Neuroscience Section, Utrecht University, 3584 CS Utrecht, The Netherlands

Mazur & Booth's (1998) target article concerns basal and reciprocal relations between testosterone and dominance, and has its roots in Mazur's (1985; 1994) model of primate dominance-submissiveness interactions. Threats are exchanged in these interactions and a psychological stress-manipulation mechanism is suggested to operate, making sure that face-to-face dominance contests are usually resolved without aggression. In this commentary, a recent line of evidence from human research on the relation between testosterone, cortisol, and vigilant (dominant) and avoidant (submissive) responses to threatening “angry” faces is discussed. Findings, to a certain extent, converge with Mazur & Booth's theorizing. However, the strongest relations have been found in subliminal exposure conditions, suggesting that biological instead of psychological mechanisms are involved.

Reconciliation, dominance and cortisol levels in children and adolescents (7-15-year-old boys)
Author: Butovskaya, Marina L.1
Source: Behaviour, Volume 145, Number 11, 2008 , pp. 1557-1576(20)
Publisher: BRILL

Abstract:The stress reduction hypothesis of reconciliation (Aureli, 1997; Aureli & Smucny, 2000) is tested on hormonal level. This study explores the potential relationships between post-conflict behaviour and cortisol level in boys between 7 and 15 years of age observed in summer camp during their free-time playing. Data on 56 boys are presented. Cortisol levels were measured in the morning (fixed time of the day), about 15 min after the end of conflict (PC) and next day without conflict as a match control (MC). Post-conflict of two types were analyzed: those followed with affiliation between former opponents and without affiliation. Age and dominance status of boys were taken in account in analyses of relationships between cortisol and post-conflict behaviour. The differences of cortisol level according to the occurrence of reconciliation were demonstrated. The stress reduction hypothesis of reconciliation was confirmed at the physiological level in children and adolescents.


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