Testosterone response to competition in males is unrelated to opponent familiarity or threat appraisal

Gonçalo A. Oliveira, Sara Uceda, Tânia F. Oliveira, Alexandre C. Fernandes, Teresa Garcia-Marques, Rui F. Oliveira*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


It has been proposed in the literature that the testosterone (T) response to competition in humans may be modulated by cognitive variables. In a previous experiment with a female sample we have reported that opponent familiarity and threat appraisal moderated the T response to competition in women. With this experiment we aim to investigate if these variables have the same impact on males T response to competition, extending the previous findings in our lab. Forty male participants (20 dyads) were recruited to engage in a same sex, face to face competition using the Number Tracking Test as a competitive task. Levels of T, cortisol (C) and dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) were measured before and 20 min after the competition. Results show that losers report higher levels of threat than winners and increased their T levels after the competition, however this T change was not predicted by opponent familiarity or threat appraisal. No variation was detected for C and DHEA levels. These findings suggest that there could be sex differences for the moderators/mediators of the T response to competition in humans.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1240
JournalFrontiers in Psychology
Publication statusPublished - 3 Nov 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Androgens
  • Challenge hypothesis
  • Cognition
  • Sex factors
  • Testosterone


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