ISSN 1671-3710
CN 11-4766/R

Advances in Psychological Science ›› 2020, Vol. 28 ›› Issue (10): 1697-1712.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1042.2020.01697

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Testosterone and human aggression

NAN Yu1,2, LI Hong1,2,3, WU Yin1,2()   

  1. 1School of Psychology, Normal College (Faculty of Education), Shenzhen University
    2Shenzhen Key Laboratory of Affective and Social Cognitive Science, Shenzhen 518060, China
    3Academy of Plateau Science and Sustainable Development, Qinghai Normal University, Qinghai 810016, China
  • Received:2020-01-10 Online:2020-10-15 Published:2020-08-24
  • Contact: WU Yin


Testosterone is an androgen synthesized and secreted by the Leydig cells of the testes in men, the thecal cells of the ovaries and placenta of women. It can mediate various physiological, morphological, and behavioral processes, and is vital to human survival and reproduction. A large number of studies have shown that there is a bidirectional relationship between testosterone and social behavior. Testosterone can regulate various social behaviors, which in turn feedback and affect the testosterone level. Early research showed that individuals with high testosterone level are more aggressive. According to the challenge hypothesis and the biosocial status model, recent studies have revealed that testosterone is highly responsive to competitive interactions. In addition, by reviewing these studies, we suggest that changes in testosterone can affect aggressive behavior by enhancing the reactivity of the amygdala or reducing PFC-amygdala functional coupling. Future research could consider the potential role of other hormones (such as cortisol) and personality traits in regulating the relationship between testosterone and human aggressive behavior, as well as related biological mechanisms.

Key words: testosterone, aggression, challenge hypothesis, biosocial status model

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