Testosterone reactivity and identification with a perpetrator or a victim in a story are associated with attraction to violence-related cues

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2014
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International Journal of Law and Psychiatry. 2014, 37(3), pp. 304-312. ISSN 1873-6386. eISSN 0160-2527. Available under: doi: 10.1016/j.ijlp.2013.11.016
Zusammenfassung

Background
Recent field research has demonstrated that an attraction to aggressive behavior and cruelty is common among combatants and perpetrators involved in organized violence. The biological basis of this appetitive perception of aggression in humans has to date not been studied.

Aims
We examined testosterone as a potential hormonal moderator during induction of specifically appetitive aggressive behavior in the laboratory.

Method
To activate physiological responding related to appetitive aggression, 145 university students (72 women) listened to tape recordings of variants of a violent story. The perspective of the listener in the story was randomized between subjects. Participants were required to either identify as perpetrator, neutral observer, or victim. We assessed changes in saliva testosterone in response to the story. Subsequently, a series of pictorial stimuli (IAPS) with different valence ratings was presented and participants determined the length of viewing time with a button click. This viewing time for negative IAPS was assessed as a dependent variable indicating level of interest in violent scenes.

Results´
Men identified themselves with the perpetrator more than women irrespective of the particular perspective presented by the story. Men who responded with an increase in saliva testosterone when adopting the perpetrator perspective chose to view the negative IAPS pictures for longer intervals than participants in other conditions or those who did not exhibit a release in testosterone.

Conclusions
Testosterone moderates attraction to cruel and violent cues in men, as indicated by extended deliberate viewing of violence cues.

Zusammenfassung in einer weiteren Sprache
Fachgebiet (DDC)
150 Psychologie
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Appetitive aggression, Testosterone, IAPS pictures, Violent story
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ISO 690WEIERSTALL, Roland, James MORAN, Gilda GIEBEL, Thomas ELBERT, 2014. Testosterone reactivity and identification with a perpetrator or a victim in a story are associated with attraction to violence-related cues. In: International Journal of Law and Psychiatry. 2014, 37(3), pp. 304-312. ISSN 1873-6386. eISSN 0160-2527. Available under: doi: 10.1016/j.ijlp.2013.11.016
BibTex
@article{Weierstall2014Testo-29513,
  year={2014},
  doi={10.1016/j.ijlp.2013.11.016},
  title={Testosterone reactivity and identification with a perpetrator or a victim in a story are associated with attraction to violence-related cues},
  number={3},
  volume={37},
  issn={1873-6386},
  journal={International Journal of Law and Psychiatry},
  pages={304--312},
  author={Weierstall, Roland and Moran, James and Giebel, Gilda and Elbert, Thomas}
}
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