Research ArticleNEUROPSYCHOLOGY

Testosterone biases the amygdala toward social threat approach

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Science Advances  12 Jun 2015:
Vol. 1, no. 5, e1400074
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1400074
  • Fig. 1 Amygdala reactivity (local maxima, 32 −2 −16) showing motivation-specific effects of testosterone during threat approach and avoidance.

    (A) Enhanced activation for approach versus avoidance of angry faces after testosterone administration compared to placebo. The image is thresholded at P < 0.05 (uncorrected) for visualization purposes. Note that a cluster of activation showing a similar pattern is also present at uncorrected threshold within the left amygdala (coordinates, −32 −8 −18; z value = 2.58; Puncorr = 0.005; see fig. S1). (B) Contrast estimates for right amygdala cluster during approach and avoidance of angry faces in each condition. Error bars represent SEM. *P < 0.05, **P < 0.01.

  • Fig. 2 Across-group aPFC activity (local maxima, 30 62 −4) for motivationally incongruent versus congruent trials within Brodmann area 10.

    The image is thresholded at P < 0.05 (uncorrected) for visualization purposes. No other clusters reached significance for the comparison between incongruent and congruent responses in the whole group (that is, none reached whole-brain FWE correction). aPFC activity did not differ between substance groups.

  • Table 1 Means (SE) of salivary hormone levels.

    P values indicate differences between substance groups. For cortisol, there was only a general effect of time, that is, decreasing cortisol levels in the course of the experiment.

    PlaceboTestosteroneP value
    Testosterone levels (pg/ml)
      At baseline22.2 (2.8)23.6 (3.0)0.74
      3 hours after administration15.2 (2.0)1361.4 (290.1)<0.001
      5 hours after administration21.4 (2.4)450.2 (78.8)<0.001
    Cortisol levels (nM)
      At baseline16.7 (2.4)14.5 (1.2)0.42
      3 hours after administration6.6 (1.2)5.3 (0.4)0.32
      5 hours after administration6.1 (0.5)5.8 (0.4)0.62
  • Table 2 Means (SE) of RTs during the social AA task in milliseconds.

    P values indicate differences between substance groups.

    PlaceboTestosteroneP value
    Happy approach676 (29)655 (19)0.55
    Happy avoid745 (29)692 (22)0.16
    Angry approach723 (29)683 (23)0.30
    Angry avoid713 (29)680 (20)0.36

Supplementary Materials

  • Supplementary material for this article is available at http://advances.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/1/5/e1400074/DC1

    Fig. S1. Contrast estimates for the left amygdala cluster during approach and avoidance of angry faces in each condition.

    Table S1. Means (SE) of questionnaire scores.

    Methods and Results. Motivation-specific effects of testosterone during threat approach and avoidance within the left amygdala.

    References (4246)

  • Supplementary Materials

    This PDF file includes:

    • Fig. S1. Contrast estimates for the left amygdala cluster during approach and avoidance of angry faces in each condition.
    • Table S1. Means (SE) of questionnaire scores.
    • Methods and Results. Motivation-specific effects of testosterone during threat approach and avoidance within the left amygdala.
    • References (42–46)

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