physiology; endocrinology; facial attractiveness; evolutionary psychology; emotion; pro-social behaviour
Probst Fabian, Golle Jessika, Lory Vanda, Lobmaier Janek S. (2018), Reactive aggression tracks within-participant changes in women's salivary testosterone, in Aggressive Behavior
, 44(4), 362-371.
Lobmaier Janek S., Fischbacher Urs, Probst Fabian, Wirthmüller Urs, Knoch Daria (2018), Accumulating evidence suggests that men do not find body odours of human leucocyte antigen-dissimilar women more attractive, in Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
, 285(1878), 20180566-20180566.
Probst Fabian, Fischbacher Urs, Lobmaier Janek S., Wirthmüller Urs, Knoch Daria (2017), Men's preferences for women's body odours are not associated with human leucocyte antigen, in Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
, 284(1864), 20171830-20171830.
Probst Fabian, Meng-Hentschel Juliane, Golle Jessika, Stucki Sylvia, Akyildiz-Kunz Carola, Lobmaier Janek S. (2017), Do women tend while men fight or flee? Differential emotive reactions of stressed men and women while viewing newborn infants, in Psychoneuroendocrinology
, 75, 213-221.
Wantz Andrea-Laura, Lobmaier Janek S., Mast Fred W., Senn Walter (2017), Spatial but not oculomotor information biases perceptual memory. Evidence from face perception and cognitive modeling, in Cognitive Science
, 41(6), 1533-1554.
For social animals, such as we are, social interactions form an integral part of our everyday life. Recent innovative studies have revealed a striking correlation between the availability of hormones in the central nervous system and social behaviour. For example, there is evidence that in humans the neuropeptide oxytocin is associated with an enhanced ability to interact socially (for a review see Heinrichs, von Dawans, & Domes, 2009). Other hormones which have been reported to modulate social cognition include gonadal steroids such as estradiol (the predominant estrogen during reproductive years of a woman), progesterone and testosterone (for a review see Bos, Panksepp, Bluthe, & van Honk, 2012). A natural way to investigate influences of intra-individual variation of gonadal steroids on social cognition and behaviour is to study naturally cycling women during different menstrual cycle phases. A further way is to assess hormone levels of individuals and compare the hormone-behaviour associations between individuals. A third method to study hormonal influences on social cognition and behaviour is by comparing women who use hormonal contraception with naturally cycling women. Women using hormonal contraception have artificially altered levels of estradiol and progesterone, which may affect their cognition of the social world. For example, in one of our recent studies we found that women using the “pill” outperformed naturally cycling women in an infant cuteness discrimination task (Sprengelmeyer, et al., 2009). The aim of my project is to test how hormones affect social cognition and social behaviour by testing women at different time points across the menstrual cycle and by comparing different individuals with each other. The project investigates social cognition in three contexts. In Part A, I plan to investigate the role of gonadal steroids on the perception and interpretation of socially relevant aspects of faces, such as facial attractiveness. Part B is concerned with cyclic variations in affiliation motivation. In Part C we will investigate whether hormonal changes as they occur across the menstrual cycle modulate aspects of vocal behaviour. We will investigate the influence of the menstrual cycle on the physical qualities of women’s own voices, depending on the sex and attractiveness of her interaction partner. In all studies involving the menstrual cycle, we will determine ovulation by means of ovulation tests and the cycle phases will be confirmed by means of hormone assays. Taken together, the primary scientific aim of this research is to characterize the inter-relationship between the psychological, physiological and endocrinological state of individuals and the interpretation of socially relevant stimuli and situations.