The purpose of this study was to investigate whether participants' assessments of unfavourable health information are associated with individual differences in basal testosterone. Testosterone has previously been related to assessments of threat in social and other domains. 52 undergraduate males were tested for a minor, fictitious medical condition thioamine acetylase deficiency ('TAA deficiency') in a paradigm that was developed to examine the thoughts and behaviours of individuals who have just received unfavourable medical news. In a variation on the classic paradigm, all participants were told that they had 'TAA deficiency,' after which they rated the seriousness and prevalence of that condition as well as 19 other actual conditions. Higher testosterone levels were significantly correlated with lower estimates of both the seriousness and prevalence of TAA deficiency as well as lower median seriousness and prevalence estimates of the 19 actual conditions. Findings are discussed in light of current research in the field of behavioural endocrinology. This study provides preliminary evidence that individual differences in assessments of threatening health information may be associated with neurobiological characteristics.
- TAA deficiency paradigm
- health threat