Testosterone in value-based decision-making

Testosterone is often seen as a mainly social hormone implicated in behaviors related to power, dominance, and aggression and higher levels of testosterone are often assumed to be associated with mainly negative consequences such as psychopathology and increased risk taking and impulsivity. However, more recent evidence suggests that testosterone effects may extend beyond the purely social domain and are not only negative. For example, testosterone has been shown to increase risk-taking levels to an arguably more optimal namely risk-neutral level, which maximizes financial outcomes in the long-term. We (Isa Woyke, Iris Ikink, Vivian Heuvelmans, Karin Roelofs, Bernd Figner) are currently conducting a triple-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized, between-subject testosterone administration study to investigate how testosterone influences different types of value-based decisions and what the psychological mechanisms may be that are underlying testosterone potential effects on these decisions. We are using several paradigms to assess intertemporal, risky, and ambiguous choices, as well as Pavlovian-to-instrumental transfer effects.

For more information on this study, please see our preregistrations: