Testosterone Promotes Cuddling, Not Aggression: Study Claims


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Science News

Researchers at Emory University explored how testosterone promotes cuddling and similar prosocial behaviors. The study is published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences.

The Study

To understand better the influence of testosterone on prosocial and antisocial responses, the researchers examined Mongolian gerbils, rodents that form lasting pair bonds and raise their pups together.

They injected the male rodents with testosterone and observed their behavior vis-a-vis a pregnant female rodent and a male rodent.

The Findings

The results revealed that testosterone enhances context-appropriate social and anti-social behavior, amplifying the tendency to display protective cuddling behavior or aggressive behavior.

It was also found that testosterone considerably influences the neural activity of oxytocin cells, helping the cells release a surge of “love hormone” to promote social bonding.

One of the lead researchers, Aubrey Kelly, elaborated: “We know that systems of oxytocin and testosterone overlap in the brain but we don’t really understand why. Taken together, our results suggest that one of the reasons for this overlap may be so they can work together to promote prosocial behavior.

To Know More You May Refer To

‌Kelly, A. M., Gonzalez Abreu, J. A., & Thompson, R. R. (2022). Beyond sex and aggression: testosterone rapidly matches behavioural responses to social context and tries to predict the future. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 289(1976). https://doi.org/10.1098/rspb.2022.0453

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